Belgian Marketing Professionals Waffle on Social Media

JP De Clerk (who is never shy about offering an opinion) vented some frustration in a post, that also appeared on Social Media Today, regarding the state of social media marketing in Belgium. Based on the numbers he cited from a recent report from Leads United of Antwerp, it appears he’s got good reason to rattle some cages.

The study surveyed 70 Belgian communication and marketing professionals regarding their use of social media. It certainly appears that based on this survey, Belgian marketing professionals have a way to go yet.

Overall the report seems to indicate that too few marketing and communication companies (based on responses from industry professionals in this survey) have a social strategy or even a social media policy in place. In fact, the survey indicates very little progress since it was first conducted four years ago.

If this doesn’t concern you than you might do well to consider Jay Baer’s recent comments about social media skills becoming as basic as typing in the near future. Keep in mind it wasn’t all that long ago that typing was a specific skill where we even had typing pools of skilled workers handling it. Once the computer made that skill absolutely necessary for any professional to function, we all learned it. Jay has a damn good point when he suggests the same will be true of social media.

Some of the stats cited by J-P from the report are rather surprising and even shocking:

  • Only 27% of the questioned companied have a social media policy
  • Only 16% of those interviewed use social media for crisis communication
  • Only 46% of the interviewed actually use social media monitoring


It appears as if the very people who should be leading the way to help Belgium companies leverage social media for better service to their customers and more business and hence, better ROI, are not quite sure what to do with it themselves!

Why is that? Why aren’t more professionals and the companies they work for diving in and getting more than just their toes wet? If they don’t have the internal expertise then why are they not seeking that experience and insight elsewhere and bringing it in-house?

At the very least any company in the marketing and communications business should easily be able to indentify their own lack of depth in a particular channel and then spot and recruit the outside talent to help them fix that shortcoming. Good heavens! Isn’t that what marketing and communications companies tell their clients they are so good at?

You can choose to consider social media as irrelevant to your business and clients, but that won’t make it irrelevant to the people your clients want to reach: consumers. A good social media strategy and the ability to help your clients develop the same competency come from within the core of your business. Social media strategic insight and skill come first from the insight you have gained by effectively using it to enhance your business and promote positive cultural change within your own organization.

I doubt this is only a problem in Belgium. I would challenge you to ask some tough questions about what your company is doing with social media both regarding internal policies and external activities. If you don’t like the answers then make changes.