Former Google CEO on Social Networking: “I Screwed Up”. A Lesson You Can’t Afford to Ignore.

by Thomas Harpointner,  founder and CEO of AIS Media, Inc

Speaking at the D9 tech conference in May, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt acknowledged he’s been aware of the competitive threat posed by social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for five years but failed to do anything about it.

In an interview with AllTHingsD’s Kara Swisher, Schmidt admitted he “screwed up” with social networking. “I clearly knew I had to do something and failed to do it, Schmidt said. “The CEO should take responsibility.”

When pressed about why he didn’t focus more on social networking, Schmidt simply answered, “I was busy.”  Schmidt was so focused on Google’s day-to-day operations; he didn’t give social networking the necessary attention.  Schmidt described his failure with social as his biggest regret.

If you’re a CEO, there may be a valuable lesson for you as well. Are you “pulling a Schmidt” with social media as well? Unless you’ve been completely sheltered from the Internet over the past few years, you’re also aware of the impact social media is making on nearly every aspect of online marketing today. But what have you done about it?

Recently, Facebook trumped Google as the number one visited website in the U.S. Social media is now the number one online activity.

Does your company have a social media strategy? If so, how satisfied have you been with the results it has produced so far? If you’re not sure how to measure social media marketing performance or don’t see a measurable ROI, you’re probably missing some critical components. For social media to deliver the best possible results, it must be properly integrated with your other marketing and advertising initiatives. It should never operate in a silo.

Consider also how your social media strategy is being implemented. Who are you charging with the responsibility? An effective social media program requires a multitude of competencies including planning, creative design, content development, technical know-how, and performance analysis. Essentially, you need a team of people with diverse skillsets that all work together in perfect harmony, focused on common goals.

The response rates from traditional ads can dramatically increase when there’s a solid digital tie-in. A magazine ad, for example, that offers readers the option to “friend us on Facebook” or displays a QR code with a link to a website landing page or social media landing page can deliver far higher ROI than an identical ad with only a phone number as a call to action (CTA). Additionally, after a reader “friends” your company on Facebook, their Facebook are instantly notified of their action and you have an open channel of communication to them. Consider that value of this alone!

If you’ve purchased prospect lists you know that highly targeted, opt-in, accurate and fresh lists can be extremely expensive – and often incredibly difficult to come by.

With that in mind, how much would you be willing to pay for a 100% accurate list of 1,000 highly targeted prospects who have expressed an interest in a product or service identical to yours within the last few weeks? Or, what if you owned such a list, how much would you charge if someone wanted to purchase it from you? That’s the value of your Facebook fan base!

If you’re running paid advertisements but you’re not building an opt-in list, you’re leaving a LOT of money on the table. If that’s the case, I encourage you to revisit your marketing strategy, thoroughly explore how well your digital and social media initiatives are integrated into your traditional advertising and how well all elements are working together to maximize your ROI.

About Thomas Harpointner

Thomas Harpointner is founder and CEO of AIS Media, Inc. Thomas sets AIS Media’s strategic direction and he enjoys being actively engaged in the strategic and creative direction with key client accounts. Thomas is recognized as a digital and social media marketing thought-leader, strategist, author and speaker. AIS Media is an Atlanta, GA based award-winning digital engagement agency known for connecting companies, organizations and brands with their target customers through performance-driven creative integrated digital and social media marketing. For more,

Explore posts in the same categories: Google, Social media, Strategy

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