When I first started investigating the business benefits of social media, I challenged a social media/networking consulting company to not just talk about social media but to prove it. I am now a true believer.
As the CIO at a mid-sized Atlanta based manufacturing company, I was reading a good deal about the promises of social media for the business world. As a member of the Georgia CIO Leadership Association in charge of programs, I organized a debate on the relevance of social media in business. My interest was peeked. Becoming increasingly curious though not convinced, I had to investigate it for our company.
My next door neighbor had just joined a social media community software company. He arranged a breakfast meeting with a social media consulting company which helps organizations understand social media and how it applies to their business, with the ultimate goal of increasing revenue.
During the breakfast meeting, I heard all of the promises and many examples. How could this work for my mid-sized plastics manufacturing company? So, during the conversation, I said “Prove it”.
I went back to my company and talked with the VP of Marketing, a bright, progressive Brit, open to new ideas. We decided to bring this consulting company in for a conversation. After much discussion, we decided to experiment with this new concept on a new product launch that was about to take place. Not having a lot to loose, we diverted some of the marketing budget to the social media aspect.
I have since left this company, however, at a recent fundraiser, I had the opportunity to catch up with this social media consulting company. I was pleased to learn to that a good percentage of the leads for the new product is directly attributable to the social media exercise. Additionally, the social media aspects is responsible for increased web traffic and is the second most influential source for the web traffic. Now I’m convinced.