Social Marketing Adoption

March 28th, 2011 by Matthew Rosenhaft Leave a reply »

Social marketing is not social media adoption. However, you cannot have an effective social marketing if your people do not use social media. 

You can’t legislate that your people all of a sudden embrace social media, just as you cannot expect them to all of a sudden love the CRM system. In reality, all new technologies follow the maturity curve; some faster than others, but at the end of the day, many will be slow to embrace.

We have seen it come up in conversations with sales organizations. Many are resistant to social media as they are uncomfortable with the change in relationships. “I don’t connect to anyone who I haven’t done work with personally.” I don’t like my relationship out on LinkedIn for everyone to see.” “Why would they connect to me?”

I can go on, but we still get a lot of adoption resistance. Our approach, for what it is worth, is to educate, engage, and enable. If they are still resistant; then, we move on to work with those internally who are comfortable with the ambiguity and change that the new technologies.

You can’t make someone comfortable with the technology nor can you legislate usage; but you can also marginalize them. What is happening on a macro-level is going to hit the workforce on a micro-level. We are starting to see the economics of social marketing hit budgets. If you can affect significant cost reductions in the cost of customer acquisition; then you have the opportunity to displace current ineffective marketing budget items that have are “the way we have always done it”, but could never be quantified as to their return or produce sufficient volume to prevent displacement. Social marketing is changing marketing budgeting as the ability to target “likely” buyers who are actually in the market versus potential buyers who are possibly in the market at some time in the near future; has huge cost ramifications.


If I don’t have to clobber then with $35 worth of multi-channel marketing, but rather spend $18 on a few key brand platforms and $2 on modfiying the right content and engaging in the appropriate social media vehicles to target the buyer research at the right stage; marketing budgeting season doesn’t feel like going to the dentist. Replace the numbers above with your own $3.50 to $350; doesn’t matter as the economics of social marketing are still fact friendly.

Note for Brand Marketers

There is the but, though. You cannot get that efficiencies if you don’t understand the market or you apply a tactical, SPAM approach to participating in social media platforms. If your facebook “strategy” looks like your interactive strategy; not going to happen. If you spend $3 Gazillion on creative for a “free”  so-called viral campaign; someone has missed the point. Brand awareness is not the same as market adoption. If you want to stay top of mind for a product that doesn’t produce mind-share, then spending on creative makes a lot of sense.

If you have a complex sale or require a change in behavior to adopt to your new solution; you probably need to focus on simplifying the value proposition for the buyers rather than distracting them with “dancing whatevers”. Hint: higher odds of success with a more practical straight-forward approach.

If 1 out of 100 “campaigns” are truly home-runs and a vast number strikeout, why don’t you focus on getting singles and doubles. Sometimes, value clarity is worth more than fancy packaging. Doesn’t preclude “creative”, but channeled in support of a business objective in context of a strategic assessment of the buyers needs and buying process will make the odds of creative connection much higher without precluding a home-run.

Full disclosure: I have had this methodical approach to marketing well before social media became hot. I have never been comfortable with the “swing for the fences” approach to creative; whether in marketing, web applications, or technology in general. Maybe because I am more risk adverse or got exposed to BtoB much earlier in my marketing career where I had to bootstrap marketing.

Back to Micro-Economics of Adoption

Believe it or not, getting your teams to adopt to social marketing is the same approach as getting your potential customers to adopt to your solution. You cannot expect people to change, but you can do everything that you can to enable that change. You can also reward that change. But, you cannot make it happen within them.

How do you drive social adoption whether internal or external?

  1. Use Comfortable Language – Features and Functionality aren’t the same as Pains and Problems
  2. Encourage Defined Behavior Changes – Focus on a Few Key Steps, Not Large Leaps
  3. Identify Key Areas of Perceived Value and Help Understand the Context in their World
  4. Provide Tangible Proof of Efficiency over Existing Ways
  5. Define Focused Transition Plan to Show them the Way

Social Marketing Adoption? Looks like any rational adoption model. Exactly….

Matthew Rosenhaft

Matthew is a Social Marketing Executive and is co-founder of Social Gastronomy, LLC and the Social Executive Council. Prior to founding Social Gastronomy, Matthew has over 18 years’ experience as an executive in marketing, product management, and sales. Matthew has an extensive background in the SaaS Software, Social Media, Mobile, IT Services, and Telecom industries. He has prior entrepreneurial experience as a founder and executive in several early-stage venture-backed technology companies, as well as, holds several US patents for a mobile marketing technology. Matthew is a prominent blogger and regular industry speaker on social marketing and strategy topics. Matthew’s blog can be found at For more information on Matthew, you can check out his LinkedIn profile at or contact him directly at