Social Media and The Want of a Nail

The Center for Adaptive Solutions, a thinktank I’m associated with, is doing a series of workshops in 2010, all around the theme of using social media in… well, pretty much everything. Business, NGOs, GOs, non-profits, … and the verticals we’re covering range from health to politics to retail to distribution (let me know if you’d like us to do one for you and I’ll hook you up). All the workshops start with the assumption that you should be in the social media game in some way, shape or form.

So I was completely shocked when I got an email from a workshop sponsor. Someone contacted the sponsor and offered that these workshops — because they assumed people knew they should be in the game — weren’t for them. They didn’t know if they should be in the social media game or not.

The sponsor wanted to know my response.

Well…umm…hmm…

Ever Hear of Market Competition?

That person’s organization has a website. I went there and extracted some key phrases that the organization uses to define itself, its purpose, its offerings, its scope, its this and that. The only thing I removed from these phrases was self-identifying information (organization name, location, that kind of thing).

Then I replaced the organization’s location with the locations of six similar organizations across the US and Googled each of these separately.

The six other searches averaged 101,200 blog entries for the same purpose, same definition, same key phrases. Average web entries was 34,900. Average YouTubes was equally high.

The organization that’s not sure it should be using social media? Seven blog posts.

Seven.

7

This time out, 7 is probably an unlucky number. Web entries are just under 5,500.

So I’m guessing that these similar initiatives across the US have some time if not money invested in social media campaigns. Nobody gets over 100,000 blog entries without trying…something.

And business rules more or less dictate that organizations don’t invest in initiatives that have zero or negative ROI.

Long story short, I figure this organization is losing over US$2,000 for every marketing dollar it spends because it’s not using social media.

This means every dollar they spend getting their word out is costing them US$2,000.

$2,000. Poof!

Funding sources, grant making institutions, corporate sponsors, … want to fund initiatives they believe will be successful.

100,000 versus 7.

Who is more successful using social media to get their story out? Who gets the grant?

$2,000. Poof!

And forget funding if you’re not in the funding game. What about simply getting the word out to those who can use your services?

Seven entries? Seven entries??? Again, Poof!

The Want of a Nail

People who know me know I’m a Luddite, frugal, that I tend towards caution, … I do not do things simply because others do them, so on and so forth.

But I will admit this organization’s concern caught me off guard. There is evidence far in excess of the simple exercise demonstrated here indicating if not demonstrating that social media done correctly is a boon to an organization’s growth and profitability. At least right now. Give things a few years and who knows.

And if nothing else, put it in terms of income, audience awareness and market reach.

  • This particular organization is losing dollars because their competition (and I just surveyed in the US, not the world) is marketing in a way this organization isn’t.
  • This organization’s audience can’t find them unless that audience knows specifically and unequivocally what they’re searching for (the organization didn’t show up in a general keyword search in the first ten search pages).
  • Market reach is effectively 0 when people who want to give you money or buy your products/services can’t find you but can find your competition with little effort.

There is absolutely no reason an organization’s rider needs to be overtaken and slain in today’s interconnected world, especially for lack of a social media nail, don’t you think?
(My thanks to CAS Brother Tom Bigda-Peyton for his thoughts and comments on this post prior to publication.)