Our guest this week is Andrew Jenkins, Principal and Owner of Volterra Consulting, a strategy consulting firm specializing in emerging technology. Volterra’s work spans e-business, wireless and social media with clients in Canada and Europe.
Where are we now?
Periodically, I am reminded of the fact that the ubiquity of social media is more a perception than a reality. By that I mean, because so many of my network and I are immersed in social media that I often think that everyone else must be too but then a comment or some data analysis will prove the contrary.
As I write this, I am in the process of developing a social media module for an executive education program focused on marketing. I had the opportunity to research the social media profiles of the attendees and the companies that employ them. They run the spectrum from no presence at all to being on most or all of the predominant social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
I also recently gave a presentation to a room filled with 100+ people from the cardboard manufacturing industry. Before diving into my presentation, I asked the room for a show of hands from those on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The results were what I have come to expect. LinkedIn had the most respondents followed by Facebook and Twitter respectively. However, none of them had the majority of those in the room. In fact, they collectively comprised the minority.
Now I could suggest that this was because of the industry I was presenting to but I think that that is unfair. I think it has more to do with the age of social media and the fact that not everyone has the same familiarity with social media and where and how their personal and professional interests and business strategies can be helped.
Why Are We Here?
We must remember that LinkedIn is only eight years old while Facebook and Twitter are seven and five years old respectively. To put that into context, email is over twenty years old. As business owners and companies come to operationalize social media with their organizations and people come to realize the value and power that can be derived from social media then we will begin to see the tide turn more quickly.
Right now, there is a lot of hype coupled with a lot of skepticism. Most of the discussion is around social media in a B2C context but I also believe that growth in social media discussions in the B2B space will shift things from being a “that’s what people do in their spare time” to being part of our everyday work lives.
What Are The Benefits?
Some may be resistant to social media strategies in their everyday work lives but over time they will come to see and benefit from the collaborative nature and resource value provided by social media. Those are just a couple of the aspects that I reference when sharing the power of social media with people.
I have grown revenue, been invited to join boards, expanded my professional and collaborative relationships, and received promotional opportunities because of social media. Those currently make me an exception but I cannot help but think that they will become more commonplace in the future.