I said it again today, social media is about a 7% solution. It’s not what drives business. It can accelerate business, and can keep the potential customer heading down the sales funnel, but alone, social media is nothing more than a Facebook wall of chat and promotion.
One of the big problems with social media is management of all the potential streams. And businesses that jump in without planning for the maintenance (responding to questions that is required) is probably going to make a lot of mistakes. And in an under-staffed model, social media may infact be more of a liability than a opportunity.
The other problem that I encounter in most business meetings is the perception that all social media participation does is open up a company to risk. There’s no sales side associated with a Facebook or Twitter presence. And for the most part, there’s no good way of tracking the conversations that happen on any of these sites (add Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+) and making sure the thread (opportunity) is not lost. There are tools, but they are usually cost-prohibitive except for the largest companies.
So what we are left with is a small mountain of tasks and very few processes or people to follow-up and complete the cycle of the conversation to drive it forward towards any goal. Typically we use some combination of excel spreadsheets, google analytics, and shared google docs, but the process is much more of a challenge than most small businesses can even fathom addressing. And then you have the “we’re do your social for you with our low-cost social team and send you the weekly bill. You set the budget, we’ll do the work.” These are good, they have a place in helping small businesses harness the various parts of social marketing. Of course, what they generally lack are real strategic thinking.
So we’ve got a skills and tools gap here in the social marketing realm, that most mature business channels already have down cold. And today we are much too dependant on one or two smart folks who can try and train and drive the herd of staff required to do the work. Again, small business is left out in the cold saying, “Too risky. Too expensive. Too little return.” But we’ve got to communicate the value better. We’ve got to find or build the tools that can facilitate the process of Social CRM(tm).
As early SalesForce was to the sales process, and Radian 6 (purchased by SalesForce and now part of the SocialCloud) was at a high price, we need a tool to help.
What I’ve identified is a huge market if we could find the right low-cost and agile business model. I’m thinking of BaseCamp for Social marketers. Pay 27.99 per month, unlimited, and we’ll give you the process, the triggers and ticklers, and scheduled social media posts you need to coordinate and gather results on.
Name Ideas: SocialCRM / SocialSugar / SocialForce (all taken)
I’m betting the big tool is out there ready to be picked off by some agile (37 Signals-like) startup.
Who’s interested? I can guide the roadmap and feature set requirements.
Big Players to watch and eat for breakfast:
- Tap Influence
- MarketingCloud from SalesForce (essentially wrapping up Radian 6 and Exact Target into a robust platform)
- Adobe Marketing Cloud (pulling from Omniture and Adobe Social)
Agile players who demonstrate the successful agile startup model: