I recently attended IABC’s International Conference (www.iabc.com) in
It was a fantastic event, meeting people, listening to their concerns, ideas and overall excitement regarding PR 2.0 and social media. I was happy to see that there are industries (beyond the tech sector) progressing nicely in the 2.0 arena. Several educational institutions and learning centers as well as healthcare companies were very interested in speaking to me about in best practices in social networking, engaging the millennials, social media marketing and how to apply 2.0 practices.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, there were several PR and marketing professionals that came by my table, thumbed through my book, and said to me, “We’re just not ready for 2.0 yet.” This is one of the reasons I wrote PR 2.0. IABC brought together representatives from over 30 countries and not everyone is completely on board with social media.
Most people don’t realize this when they’re networking on one of their favorite micro blogs or social networking sites because the participants are so tech savvy. The jargon flies around and everyone knows the terminology. There’s also a great understanding of the importance and value of social media applications and engaging in conversations. But, that only represents a portion of the general population.
The two most common reasons for lack of participation: how do we convince management to put resources toward researching social media marketing and our IT infrastructure does not support social media applications. When I think about every industry, I can see the need to communicate effectively, to engage in meaningful communication, to help people by sharing information, to build better relationships and engage in conversations that are peer-to-peer. It is such a disservice to a brand to avoid investment in the resources and the infrastructure because they miss out on the opportunity to advance communications with company stakeholders.
The IABC conference taught me that there are many companies and industries that are advancing quickly, but social media education is still very important. I’m sure we will continue to see more conferences, like IABC’s, that focus on social media education and getting companies to understand the benefit and value behind social media applications. I thought we were past the “why should we engage in social media” question. In some cases we are, but there’s still a population that needs some additional counseling.