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Corporations Accept Social Media (Slowly)
By: Jeff Louis
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It's been quite a year for Facebook. Not only has the social networking site taken the top spot as the largest social media site in the world (gliding past MySpace with nary a wave), but it has pro-actively faced the future by implementing real-time search and acquiring rival company FriendFeed.
<p style="text-align: left;">Clearly demonstrated by the graph below, Facebook shows no signs of slowing.</p>
<p style="text-align: center; "><img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-6794" title="facebook.com+friendfeed.com+myspace.com_uv_310" src="http://digitalpivot.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/facebook.com+friendfeed.com+myspace.com_uv_310-300x164.jpg" alt="facebook.com+friendfeed.com+myspace.com_uv_310" width="400" height="220" /></p>

According to <em>Financial Times</em>, Facebook's monthly visitors consists of <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2ba1c14e-8527-11de-9a64-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2F2ba1c14e-8527-11de-9a64-00144feabdc0.html%3Fnclick_check%3D1&amp;_i_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fdigitalpivot.com%2F%3Fp%3D6578%26preview%3Dtrue&amp;nclick_check=1">340 million<em> </em>unique users</a> on average, and Facebook claims that:
<blockquote><em>"...83 of the top 100 advertising spenders in the US, as ranked by the research group AdAge, use its site. This group includes Johnson &amp; Johnson, Nike and AT&amp;T."</em></blockquote>
It's fantastic that Facebook has been able to lure large corporate clients to advertise on the site. Most corporations were originally hesitant to advertise on social media sites for numerous reasons, including:
<li>No awareness/understanding of social media</li>
<li>No social media strategy</li>
<li>Perceived lack of control</li>
<li>Stuck in traditional media mode</li>
<li>Personnel are "over-worked"</li>
<li>Don't understand the benefits</li>
<li>Fear of mistakes</li>
<li>Will promote an overly casual or lenient work environment</li>
<li>No ROI/measurability</li>
It's pretty clear that the objections on the list are based on either what "could" happen (control-based), or fear.

<img class="alignright size-full wp-image-6787" title="PandPull" src="http://digitalpivot.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/PandPull.jpg" alt="PandPull" width="151" height="225" />For companies that have not yet made the leap, it is suggested that "slow" is a good speed for integrating social media into your advertising plans. Start with a blog on the corporate website, and use this as the base of your social media plan. As the blog is read by company employees, ask for feedback. Great ideas don't always come from boardrooms.

Also realize that social media is based on a pull strategy. This means engaging in conversations with your target audience or consumers on a one-to-one basis, or one-to-few basis. Large companies are often viewed by outsiders as mindless entities run by automatons, but social media gives these companies the opportunity to develop an online personality (brand) that interacts with the rest of the community.

Companies can also provide incentives for their fans. Such incentives may include programs/software, discounts, free products, or company swag (hats, t-shirts, etc.). This is a way to build exposure and increase the number of fans.

For instance, iTunes is giving away 20 free downloads if you become an <a title="iTunes" href="http://www.facebook.com/iTunes?ref=search&amp;sid=701244173.2625937370..1" target="_blank">iTunes Fan</a> on Facebook. Yes, now.

Darren Rowse, founder of <a title="Problogger.net" href="http://www.problogger.net" target="_blank">Problogger.net</a> and author of <em>ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income</em>, stated:
<blockquote><span style="color: #000000;">Blogging </span><span style="color: #000000;">is a </span><a style="text-decoration: none; " href="http://www.alistercameron.com/" target="_blank"><span style="color: #000000;">fantastic tool</span></a><span style="color: #000000;"> in this mix because it </span><span style="color: #000000;">enables you to </span><span style="color: #000000;">build trust</span><span style="color: #000000;"> and develop an ongoing relationship with those who read it.</span></blockquote>
<em><span style="font-style: normal;">Could not have said it better...</span></em>


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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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