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Has social media for business hit the mainstream?

3 min read


This poll-analysis post was written by Jeremy Victor, editor-in-chief of For more of his writing, follow B2Bbloggers on Facebook and Twitter.

SmartPulse — our regular reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

Our most recent poll question: Which statement best describes your business’ approach to social media?

  • We are experimenting: 41.88%
  • We have a documented social media marketing plan and metrics to track performance: 24.79%
  • We have analysis paralysis — in other words, we are all talk and no action: 11.97%
  • We are well on our way to becoming a social business (i.e. implementing social technology across the organization): 11.11%
  • My subscription to this newsletter is the extent of my company’s social media activity: 10.26%

The genesis of this poll question came after reading Geoff Livingston’s article “The End of the Social Media Adoption Road,” which references Rogers’ Innovation Adoption Curve. Livingston writes, “We’re rapidly approaching the end of the technology adoption curve for social media. … We’re likely moving into the laggard stage currently.”

While I disagreed with the article and Livingston’s conclusions, thinking we were nowhere near market adoption for social media, I had no data to support my argument. Hence, the poll. Let’s see what the results have to tell us.

  1. 22% of respondents said they are taking no action to adopt social media in their business (12% analysis paralysis plus 10% newsletter-subscription-only activity.
  2. 67% said they are working on social media programs and trying to understand the benefits social
    media can have for their business (42% experimenters plus 25% documented social media plan).
  3. 11% said they are evolving and becoming social businesses by implementing social technology across the organization.

When we compare these results with the adoption curve, it turns out Livingston’s conclusions are far more accurate than I thought. Here are the reasons.

  1. In our poll, the 22% are the laggards, compared with 16% in Rogers’ curve. This group in the adoption curve prefers the tried-and-true method, is critical of new ideas and is willing to consider them only when they have become mainstream.
  2. Our majority of 67%, compared with 64% in Rogers’ curve, has accepted the change social media represents and adopted social media in some form.
  3. Finally, the 11%, our early adopters, compared with 13.5% in Rogers’ curve, are leading the way and transforming themselves into social businesses, finding ways to use social technology in all aspects of their business.

Compared with Rogers’ Innovation Adoption Curve, our poll shows social media and its business applications are here to stay. We are rapidly approaching mainstream adoption, and soon even the laggards will join the fun. Don’t you think? There’s no turning back at this point, right?