This post was written by Mirna Bard, a social media consultant, speaker, author and instructor of social media at the University of California, Irvine.
SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.
Last week’s poll question: Who do you think has benefited from social media engagement the most?
- Business-to-consumer companies – 32.08%
- Celebrities – 31.13%
- Media – 10.38%
- Not-for-profit organizations – 9.91%
- All have equally benefited – 6.60%
- Politicians/governments – 5.19%
- Business-to-business companies – 2.83%
- Some other group – 1.89%
This same question is all over the Web: “Can any business and/or person benefit from social media?” I have also seen people predict that social media is better for certain types of businesses than others. For example, some say it may be better for business-to-consumer companies than business-to-business firms — which is absolutely not accurate from what I have seen many B2B companies do with social media. Why wouldn’t any business or person be able to benefit from social media engagement if used properly?
Of course, failure is an obvious outcome when social media is used just as a direct sales tool or when there is a lack of understanding and know-how. Social media is not for everyone or for every business because some may not be ready for it. It takes a mindset shift, time, willingness to learn and commit, as well as consistency. These elements combined with the right strategy and tools can be powerful for any business or person, whether they are using it for training, internal communication, prospecting or even to become a celebrity.
The poll results above were very interesting to me. I don’t think I expected celebrities to be at the top and the other percentages to be so split. If you have an active online audience, you can benefit from social media engagement, and you don’t have to be a celebrity or a major brand to succeed. I have seen each of the above sectors succeed one way or another when using social media as it should be used.
What do you think of the above poll results? Did you expect the results to be as they are?