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Social Media Bashing on the Rise

hyping social mediaI’ve noticed more and more folks taking shots at the value of social media. For example there’s Beware of Social Media Marketing Myths from Gene Marks in Business Week. It’s a natural evolution, I suppose, since social media has pretty much been hyped as the way to riches, better looks, and total self-actualization. I mean, this weekend my local paper had articles on twitter in three different sections, including sports. I get it, I’m tired of the hype too.

But, this is exactly the cycle that any valid innovation or trends goes through to settle in. So, to me this is a good sign that social media participation is just about to settle in as a mainstream business tool. Range back a little more than ten years ago and you’ll find media coverage claiming web sites were nice distractions but not really something businesses should take seriously. Of course, blogging emerged in 2004, made the cover of every magazine in 2005, was promoted and hyped as the way to riches, better looks, and total self-actualization in 2006, bashed as overhyped in 2007, and is now a standard business tool that has evolved into the mainstream marketing plumbing. (Oh and by the way, notice how there are very few blog experts left selling get rich with blogs.)

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Talking Groundswell with Charlene Li

Charlene LiCharlene Li, senior analyst with Forrester, stopped by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast to discuss social media and her new book, co-authored with Josh Bernoff, Groundswell.

Much of Li’s work at Forrester is in working with very large organizations to help them understand how to use social media, but the funny thing is that most if not all of what is contained in the book applies to small businesses as well. In fact, big companies are actually diving head first into social media in a bit of an attempt to look and feel smaller.

Make no mistake, the Groundswell that Li and Bernoff cover in this book is not a passing trend, it’s a reality.

As a small business owner the only really tough question is not what or how, it’s why. Understand what practical objective you want to achieve (Groundswell covers many) and then pick that one objective and apply the appropriate tool – it’s that simple. Don’t try to do it all – do one thing in social marketing and then move on to the next. (See: Hierarchy of Social Marketing)