Here’s a sobering bit of information as the new year beckons: Small businesses are set to ramp up their spending on social media marketing, but research on its effectiveness has been mixed, according to a new report by Citibank (per eMarketer).
Considering the quantum leaps in technology in the last decade – remember 1999? No Google, no iPhone, no Facebook and no Twitter – the upcoming decade will likely see even more sophisticated applications online enabling people to communicate electronically and receive information instantaneously (wherever they are).
Clay Shirky, author of “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations,” one of the most popular books about a Web 2.0 world, explains in this video that the Internet isn’t a “decoration” on society but a “challenge” to it.
While the Googles and the Twitters have been scrambling to develop apps targeting the business sector, the majority of small-business executives found social networks no good for expanding their business, the report said.
On the other hand, social networks were also considered a solid way to monitor online chatter about the business and keep up with the industry. Lead generation was cited as the biggest benefit of social networking for U.S. small businesses, cited by one-half of respondents, according to the “Small Business Marketing Forecast 2010” from Ad-ology.
LinkedIn, a business-oriented site, was claimed as beneficial by 21% of small businesses, compared with 19% that said the same of Twitter.
Among the many items on the agenda for 2010 will be more education about social networks, whose influence is still in the early stage. Moving forward social media will be a regular part of our coverage, as we aim to help sales and marketing executives navigate what is a complicated but potentially lucrative terrain.
But we’ll continue to focus on the core elements of the blog, such as lead generation, prospecting and data management. It’s sure to be a wild ride. Put your goggles on.
Meantime, have a happy, healthy and safe new year.