Posted August 7, 2013 10:40 am by with 2 comments

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I don’t usually start a post with a quote but this one says quite a lot.

“The sobering reality is that nearly a decade into the era of social media, more social marketers are failing than succeeding,” writes Forrester Analyst Nate Elliott in a new report published this morning.

So what’s so difficult for marketers around social media?

Marketers Remain Unsure Forrester 2013

The social media industry generally doesn’t like to focus on this kind of talk and for good reason. Does this kind of statement mean that social media isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? Not at all. What might be a good idea is not trumpeting social media as the beginning and end all of marketing. The reality is, it’s a channel and it has its place. Elliott states the real problem

According to Elliott, ‘Social Exceptionalism’ can be pin-pointed as the problem — “rather than recognizing that social is just another marketing channel, many marketers see it as unique,” i.e. keeping social completely separate from other marketing efforts, or worse, asking social to carry the weight of an entire marketing program. So what’s the solution? To succeed with social media, marketers must understand how it supports each part of the customer journey. That means not just offering engagement, but also enabling discovery and supporting exploration and purchase with social — what Forrester calls Social Reach, Social Depth, and Social Relationship.

It’s interesting to say the least. Do you agree with these statements? What would you add to the conversation? Has your experience with social media been similar with regard to these trouble spots?

The full report can be purchased (Marketing Pilgrim has no monetary arrangement with Forrester).

  • Scot Harris

    I basically agree with what Forrester is saying: the main issues companies have with social is when they try to either tack it on to an existing marketing plan or build their entire plan around it. I also agree that it is another channel that marketers can use, but I disagree with Forrester when they say it is not unique. Others channels were developed to talk at customer’s, but social requires a conversation. Social is all about meaningful content and developing relationships, not shouting about how your toothpaste gets teeth whiter. This is the aspect of it that throws so many marketers off and makes ROIs so hard to calculate. The best way around that issue that I know of is to make sure social is intertwined with your existing marketing plan, something I believe Forrester is driving at near the end of the paragraph.

  • Minal Ruhela

    Interesting, every time I consult, I get these questions as to how should one measure social’s ROI. It has many benefits like number of fans, branding, brand enhancements, R&D, opinion, engagement, lead gen, sales, conversions etc…it all depends on the what is that the management is looking at and what is it that it requires.