I gave a presentation at a meeting of the Association of Management Consulting Firms in New York on Friday about the “Six New Rules of Marketing Thought Leadership.” It covered a lot more than just using social media for B2B content marketing, but that was a part of it. An objection I heard more than once was that social media is so full of trash that it’s not a good place for B2B companies to be. One of my co-presenters pointed out that 91% of Twitter traffic is either babble, conversational, spam or self-promotional, and that only the remaining 9% is of any potential interest. Someone in the audience said that the LinkedIn groups he has looked at joining are full of spam.
So does that make social media a bad fit for business? I don’t think so.
Exhibit #1: The World Wide Web. Most pages there are trash too. If you search for the keyword “Viagra” with Google you’ll find 46 million pages, most of which aren’t worth your time to visit. I don’t know that anyone has analyzed the web to see how much of it is relevant to a business person, but I’ll guess it’s a small proportion.
Exhibit #2: Our conversation on the journey home. It was Friday evening and we spent a lot more time discussing Boomer pop trivia—Yoko Ono’s role in the breakup of the Beatles; how Roger Dean’s art did or did not influence the movie Avatar, for instance—than we did on anything you might call intelligent business conversation.
Perhaps most human discourse is at least babble or conversational, if not spam or self-promotional.
In any case, it doesn’t matter. There is a ton of material on the web that is of value; thanks to search engines, we can generally find it in a fraction of a second. With TweetDeck or similar tools we can filter Twitter so that we see mainly stuff that interests us. And if we don’t like a particular LinkedIn group because it’s not well monitored for spam and proper behaviors, well we can join a different one instead. Or start one.
The presence of junk in any of these channels is not a good argument for avoiding them.