Let's see, would you rather spend $4million to reach 100 million people once – say via a Super Bowl ad – or spend almost nothing to reach 400million people every day?  Seems obvious economics.  Yet, how good is your Facebook presence?  Because that is the route to all those people who are on-line daily.

Most of today's business leaders grew up in the world of one-way advertising.  They watched TV, listened to the radio, read magazines and newspapers.  They were taught that to get a message into potential buyer heads, unfiltered by journalists, you had to advertise.  And for a long time, that was pretty true.  So they Locked-in on advertising and traditional PR as the route to name awareness and brand image.  But that was before the market shift which is dampening enthusiasm for traditional media while social media (broadly – including YouTube) is exploding.

Now your customers, and potential customers, are most likely using Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In and other social media every day.  And when they search on your products, they get Google responses from social media.  If you aren't putting some effort into the media, your image and message could be far removed from your goal! 

I remember talking to the CEO of Rolex in 1997.  Rolex did not have a web site.  His point of view was that as a luxury good, the internet was "below" his company's standards for communicating.  If there was to be a web site, he thought Tourneau – the world's largest retailer of luxury watches – would build it.  In 10 minutes I demonstrated to him how a simple search on "Rolex" turned up gobs of used dealers, unauthorized dealers, unauthorized repair shops, and outright fakes!  Several near the top of the list!  He was shocked.  His brand was rapidly being marginalized via a channel he had never even considered.  His worst fears about how the brand would be stolen, manipulated and value minimized were happening – and he was blithely ignorant.  Of course, Rolex got involved quickly to protect its brand.

So when was the last time you reviewed your brand, or image, or message across social media channels?  Are you possibly, blithely letting someone else manipulate your image?

At MediaPost.com in "Ensuring A Successful Corporate Facebook Presence" the authors outline a 4 step approach for doing a good job.  My biggest fear is that Lock-in to old approaches to sales and marketing mean too few companies are paying even a shred of interest in social media.  Over and over I hear marketers of large, established companies saying that social media access is blocked at work – and nothing is being done to leverage the channel!  In some instances, I've heard of Chief Marketing Officers making a "command decision" to avoid social media, because they can't "control" it. 

Secondly, the competition that is going to ruin your day just might do it via social media!  An existing company may have an image, advertising and effective PR.  So how would a Disruptive new competitor go after you?  Why, using the very low cost channel of social media.  We've all heard about disgruntled customers that have used songs, videos and other clever tools to spread extremely negative information like wildfire through a customer base.  Yet, by ignoring the channel – by ignoring the opportunity to develop a strong and effective presence that ties to customers – we encourage competitors to use this channel to our detriment.

Don't let Lock-in cause you to ignore this powerful, and shockingly low cost, communication tool.  Realize that social media is here to stay, and incorporate it into your future scenarios.  Additionally, social media is where your competition – especially fringe competitors – are likely to target you.  Why not study them, learn from them, and use the tool to grow instead of being a target?  And when it's time to implement, Disrupt your old decision-making and spending patterns so you allocate some resources to build out your social media campaign.  Then put together a White Space team with Permission to really go for success using the resources you've now dedicated to the project.

Applying the Phoenix Principle can result in a rapid improvement in social media marketing – and it just might save you a huge amount of spending on your traditional marketing communications plans.  While bringing in new customers and markets!