Social media is “like teenage sex”: LinkedIn

Teens in love

Pic: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (CC license)
"Social media is like teenage sex, everyone wants to do it. When they do they’re a bit disappointed, but they practice and it gets much better." So said LinkedIn’s EMEA marketing solutions director, Josh Graff, in response to research released by the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

The CIM study was announced at the Social Media Benchmark event at Bloomberg yesterday, with a debate featuring panellists from YouTube, LinkedIn and Skype.

The research revealed that many businesses believe that "doing" social media is more important than listening when engaging on social media platforms. The announcement of these findings was surprising and slightly disappointing. How are businesses going to know what people want, if they don’t listen?

"Listening" doesn’t just apply to social media use in businesses, it’s just good business common sense. Even the best salespeople aren’t the ones who can talk the most, they’re the ones that are willing to listen to what the client wants. Thus, they know how to approach each client and make the sale.

The New CIM findings seem to indicate that most marketers just simply don’t know what they are doing when applying social media to their businesses and many just seem plain uncomfortable engaging within social media platforms.

An audience member at The Social Media Benchmark event challenged LinkedIn’s Graff, saying, "I don’t think teenage sex is conducted in a public forum."

Graff’s telling analogy means that businesses should be investing ample time on social media platforms, trying new methods, and generally familiarising themselves with social media sites and the social landscape. The best way to get to know something is to just dive right in.

CIM’s research found that almost 50% of businesses said their activity on the business networking platform, LinkedIn, was either highly irregular or idle.

A good piece of advice for businesses looking to utilise social media is to use it frequently. Once a day or once a week is not enough – constant engagement on social media platforms is key in order to see positive results.

Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka_S or comment below.

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