If you are inclined to believe The World's Most Unscientific Social Media Survey, which we conducted here last week, then there is something very interesting going on.
What's happening is that all the hype about social media is working.
Social media evangelists have been very successful at convincing marketers that they need to engage in social media despite the fact that those who have been engaged in it are, for the most part, disappointed in the results they've gotten.
Among those who say they have been using social media, only 6% said the results exceeded their expectations. Only 10% said they felt social media dollars were as productive as traditional ad dollars. And a mere 25% of marketers said they were willing to re-direct ad dollars to social media.
29% of respondents characterized social media as "a valuable tool that every marketer should be using" while 70% said it was "an over-hyped, unproven medium" or "a waste of time and money."
But their negative attitudes about social media aren't affecting their behavior.
88% of agency people say they talk as much or more about social media in new business pitches as they did 6 months ago. Only 12% said they are doing less social media than they were 6 months ago. Only 6% said it's harder to sell social media to clients than it was 6 months ago. A mere 15% said their clients' interest in social media is waning.
To me, this is very reminiscent of the blog and podcast scare of a few years ago. If you remember, it was impossible to go into a client meeting without having a blog or podcast recommendation. If you didn't, clients thought you were out of it. So even though you knew it was a huge wack-off (is there an "h" in wack-off?) you had to recommend it, just to look cool.
Disclaimers, qualifiers, and weasel words...
The World's Most Unscientific Social Media Survey was, in fact, well-named. At 200, the sample size was way too small (yet 25 times the size of the average focus group.) Respondents were neither chosen at random nor fairly balanced. And it would be my guess that readers of The Ad Contrarian would tend to be more skeptical about social media than average.
And yet...being around research as long as I have, you develop a nose for what's real and what's bullshit. While the methodology here is bullshit, I have a feeling the conclusions are real.
Something Else To Give Social Media Zealots Heartburn
According to this study, email is seven times more popular for sharing "content" than Twitter.