law firm social media competitive advantageDavid Mielach (@D_M89) of the Business News Daily writes that American businesses are in denial about the need to embrace social media.

Despite the fact that 60% of Americans use some sort of social media, according to the Pew Research Center, 72% of businesses that use social media do not have a clear set of goals or a clear strategy for their social media use.

Why? Businesses aren’t convinced that social media is anything more than a fad or a temporary phenomenon, per Mielach.

Mielach spoke with Rob Ployhart, a professor of business administration at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. Ployhart believes that the skepticism of businesses comes directly from the fact that they have not been able to see data showing the return on investment from social media.

There is a lot of hype that goes along with technology. After doing this review, I’m convinced that social media is radically different and that existing theories about communications can’t be applied the same way. It puts incredible power in the hands of employees and customers. One person sharing on social media is more powerful than 50 or more people saying it. To be fair, there is way more hype than there is reality, and there is a lack of objective data collected by impartial sources that show a business return. (emphasis added)

Ployhart says that the data businesses are looking for will be available within three to five years. Though social media may appear more credible with such data, businesses must have confidence in social media above all else today in order to reap the benefits that it can offer.

Those companies placing their confidence in social media today are going to be at a competitive advantage to others, per Ployhart.

In today’s world, we are all interconnected. Companies that are thinking about this proactively are the ones that are probably going to have an advantage in leveraging this technology. I’d be surprised if the first few companies that get in there don’t have a lasting competitive advantage.

The majority of law firms are in denial about the need to embrace to social media. They’re skeptics, they want proof. However, those law firms which do embrace social media now will have lasting competitive advantage over those law firms which do not.