Few stories make me pause and think as I surf the web for my daily news fix. But one on Goldman Sachs looking for a social media strategist set my mental wheels whirring.
It seems that, while Goldman Sachs is a major domo on the financial markets, it’s a bit of a novice in social media. In fact, its Twitter feed does not have a single post and its Facebook page is overflowing with negative comments. I wonder why Goldman Sachs took the trouble of setting up these assets if it didn’t have anybody to manage them.
I am always astounded by how many otherwise-enlightened corporations haven’t woken up to the importance of social media in today’s world. Being part of the online conversation is critical for business success.
Social media managers are in high demand across corporations in advanced countries; Indian firms seem to be getting it too. Many have hired professionals or agencies to track conversations online, manage their brand and attain thought leadership.
Social media managers will be in demand over the next decade or so, with the industry expected to grow to $3.1 billion (in revenues) within five years according to industry estimates.
Unfortunately, even now, many businesses – and this applies to small and medium-sized enterprises too – don’t realise is that social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your target audience and stay a step ahead of the competition. That’s why you need social media managers.
While I don’t have data for India, an EpiServer report that I saw said the number of British businesses that have employed social media managers has skyrocketed. The report said that 69% of businesses in the UK will appoint a social media manager this year. Roughly 44% of the businesses saw social media as a means to properly engage with customers, while 43% saw it as an opportunity for customer research and retention. Most importantly, 28% reported an increase in sales thanks to social media.
But there are still businesses that think social media is a passing fad. To them, I’d point out that more than half the planet is under the age of 30, and that 96% of those online and under that age engage with social media. Studies show that 78% of people trust peer recommendations, compared to 14% that trust advertising.
These are compelling arguments. But getting on social media is not enough. You must take the time and make the effort to build a loyal following. Interact with people in real time, discuss issues and project your company’s philosophy.
Stay involved, that’s the key. Showing people that you care is essential for brand loyalty.
I loved this quote I read online: “The marketing industry is shifting from customer relationship management to customer managed relationships.” So, if anyone out there is thinking of a career in social media management, this is your moment.