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Is the social media marketing slumber finally over for big brands?

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

Perhaps it is because I am the father of a 13-year old daughter but whenever I hear the word "slumber" I immediately think of the phrase "slumber party" - which then conjures up fun, unless of course you are the host parent of said party.

However, if you're a big brand, say on the level of a Fortune 500 brand, your "state of inactivity" - AKA your slumber - when it comes to social media marketing may finally be over. At least it may finally be over for some as that's the indication one gets from reviewing data from a recent study from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research.

You can clearly see the uptake in social media usage across the board re: the big social media networks. Most notably is the increase in blogging among Fortune 500 companies - up 28% in just one year.

However, the study delved deeper into blogging and in fact showed that blogging among Fortune 500 companies is up over 112% since 2008.

And try this stat on for size re: blogging: Brands ranked in the top (Fortune) 200 were more likely to blog than those ranked 300-500.


Here's some other findings/stats:

  • The 171 Fortune 500 corporations with blogs represented 58 of 75 industries in the Fortune 500.
  • 8 of the top 10 corporations actively post on Twitter.
  • 72 of the 75 industries represented in the Fortune 500 use Facebook &  Twitter
  • Only 1 of the top 10 companies (Ford Motors) is on Instagram.
  • Walmart is the only company among the top 10 to use Foursquare.
  • Half of the top 10 have a Pinterest board.

And speaking of Pinterest, in what should come as no surprise to anyone, it has seen a growth of 350% YOY, 2012 to 2013, going from 2% to 9% adoption among Fortune 500 brands. It is worth noting we're talking very low numbers - 11 companies in 2012 to 45 in 2013 but, you can surely expect to see that number increase as more and more brands take full advantage of the visual-social networks.

Why has it taken so long?

I am a very curious person by nature so when confronted with facts and figures like those above I am left wondering "why has it taken so long for so many large, multi-billion dollar brands to realize what we already know?"

Social media marketing is not a fad. It is not going to go the way of other fads and one day be found on sale on eBay or discovered by the American Pickers sitting in someone's farm with dust and cobwebs over it.

It is where your customers and future customers are spending more and more of their time so why would you not want to be there with them?

Not that should I have to do this but I will anyway.

Just some, some of the latest stats re: social media usage:

  • 27% of time spent online is on a social network
  • Facebook has 1.11 billion monthly active users
  • Twitter has over 550 million users
  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • There are more than 2.1 million LinkedIn groups
  • Pinterest has nearly 50 million users

So why Mr. & Mrs. Brand?

Why has it taken you so long to come around and why so others among you continue to resist the open invitation to join the party - the social media slumber party?

Here's a few of the reasons I believe it took so many brands to accept the invitation and/or continue to refuse it:

  • Fear. Pure, unadulterated fear. Fear, when it comes to social media, comes in many shapes and sizes and at or near the top of the list for brands is fear of saying something or doing something stupid - for all the world to see.
  • Lack of true ROI. This reason is perhaps trotted out by more brands as to why they don't participate in social media. Plenty of articles written about this topic. Here's a real good one from Natalie Burg at Forbes: How To Measure Your Social Media Return On Investment
  • Lack of content. I think there are still a great number of brands - both big and small, who know they need to be at the party but simply do not know what to say; what to share, what to post and on and on and on. So they choose to watch from afar, hoping one day to take the leap - which of course they won't and it won't matter anyway for it will be too late.

The bottom line to all of this is very simple in my humble opinion.

Now, more than ever, it is vital to establish and maintain a relationship with consumers. And short of going door-to-door or inviting everyone over for a backyard BBQ, the next best alternative is to interact, engage and relate to them via social media.

Come join the social media slumber party.

Pajamas are optional.

Sources: Marketing Chartsumassd.eduactivecommunities.com

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