Facebook ain’t all that

You might think that Facebook is the silver bullet for today’s marketers, but a recent study shows that most large companies are finding that using range of social media as part of their business and marketing strategies is the way to go.

According to a study by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research, 71% of companies used Facebook in 2010, up from 61% in 2009. Twitter, at 59% in 2010, and blogging, at 50%, are also still high on the list.

Companies engaged in social media marketing are seeing success. The study found that 85% of companies viewed Facebook as successful, a significant jump from 54% in 2009. Yet, some may think it surprising that Facebook hasn’t matched message or bulletin boards, with 93% reporting it was a successful tactic. Location-based social network Foursquare also saw a significant increase in usefulness; 75% of companies reported it was a successful tactic.

I see this issue in play all the time. Companies call me up and say, “Can you get me on Facebook?” Of course the answer is yes, but the starting question should actually be “where should my company be on the social Internet?”

For instance, I recently did some work with a luxury hotel hotel who wanted to get a Facebook page and Twitter profile going. Sure, that’s easy enough. But my research showed that YouTube, Digg! and blogs were the platforms where relevant conversations were taking place. In fact, Facebook and Twitter did not rank in the top ten of social platforms of importance for that hotel.

For another client, a government department, my research showed that Facebook and Twitter did not feature in the top 20 most relevant platforms. Instead my advice was to focus on on content creation including publishing a blog and a YouTube channel.

You see, Facebook and Twitter are certainly the trendiest and most talked about channels, these days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will reach the stakeholders that are key to your business.

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Sherrilynne Starkie is a consultant at PDMS. For almost 18 years, Sherrilynne has been advising blue-chip organisations on both sides of the pond, covering Britain, Canada and the United States. For three years, Sherrilynne was the Tech Talk columnist for the Isle of Man newspapers. She serves on the steering committee for Isle of Man Women in Business, is on the Executive Council for the Isle of Man Junior Chamber of Commerce. In the past she was on the management committee for the Isle of Man British Computer Society and the marketing committee of Junior Achievement.