Social Media for 2011?

Facebook, Twitter and Blogs have long since gone viral on the web. Advertisers realizing the potential of viral marketing began to tap the medium dubbed “social media” over the last couple years. Most advertisers have treated social media with a dabbler’s mentality posting the occasional self-serving message. They did not execute a consistent and deliberate effort to create their own micro network within the context of the larger network. Nor did they link all the channels available to them with the social media arena. Social media is here to stay and deserves the attention paid to the most effective mediums in the advertisers arsenal; like TV. Social media driven by content where you are getting your image, brand and message out requires a lot more effort then the occasional 2-1 bar special on Thursday night. Or we are open for Christmas Eve from 5-8pm. Users of social media are searching for connection and an experience.  Motive, inspire or inform them.

Social media is like traditional networking on steroids. The ability to hit a key on your computer firing a message into the blogosphere in an instant linking all forms of social media makes this medium a force to reckon with for many years to come. The Obama presidential campaign was just one of example of the medium virally exploited to an advantage. As the waning days of 2010 pass with budgets approved, you might want to look at your commitment to social and mobile media. In tough economic times can you afford not to engage where social and mobile are concerned? Can you really let another year pass while your competition exploits social and mobile media?

To make my point more clearly take a look at the AdAge article below depicting the move by major corporations into social media because of the viral impact. Remember smart phone now outnumber computers so where will you social media be viewed from? A smart phone! Mobile is the now, not the future!

Published: December 08, 2010 (extracted from web on December 9, 2010) by Debra Aho Williamson with AdAge Magazine.

“Next year, 80% of companies with 100 or more employees are expected to use social-media tools for marketing, up from 73% in 2010 and nearly double the usage rate in 2008, according to eMarketer. Surely that means big budget increases for next year, right?

In some cases the answer is yes. But for a lot of marketers, the budgeting question is getting harder to answer, not easier. If there’s one thing I learned from researching my new report on “Social Media in the Marketing Mix,” it’s that many marketers have no idea how much they’re budgeting on social — or no good way to tabulate it. Here’s why:

Too many cooks. As marketers continue to ramp up their social-media efforts, they are still using multiple resources, both internal and external, to create Facebook pages, manage Twitter feeds, develop viral videos and, of course, measure the impact.

Businesses remain torn over whether the best strategy is to manage social media through their corporate communications group, their marketing department, or a separate social-media group. Adding to the complexity: marketers are inundated with pitches from ad agencies, PR agencies and social-media vendors — all hungry for new projects for 2011.

Social media is free, right? In some business sectors, the thinking still holds that social media is free, or nearly free. Although earned media — the value that companies get when their marketing messages spread virally — is indeed free publicity, there is almost always a cost associated with it, whether it be staffing, creative development or monitoring the results.

The good news is most marketers say they are increasing social-media spending next year. But the actual dollar amounts are all over the map.

In a worldwide survey by SEOmoz, a search-marketing company, more than half of the 9,000 respondents said their budget for outsourced social-media marketing was zero. Only 2.9% said they spent more than $5,000 per month.

On the other end of the spectrum is Altimeter Group, which surveyed 140 social-media strategists at major businesses for a report on the corporate social-media strategist function. One-third of respondents indicated that their company was spending between $100,000 to $500,000 in 2010, and 23% had a budget of $500,000 or more. These companies can be considered among the leading adopters of social media.

There are few benchmarks. Marketers don’t agree on how much of their marketing budgets they should spend on social media. Surveys indicate that marketers spend 4% to 11% of their online marketing budgets on social media. This wide divergence is indicative of the fact that social-media marketing budgets are spread across multiple departments and groups, and that some types of companies and industries are more advanced than others.

What does this mean? Even if companies find it impossible to set a specific budget for social media, they can still take a holistic approach, incorporating it into their marketing planning from the start. At General Motors, budgets for social media next year will come from the brand marketing groups, according to social media chief Christopher Barger.

That means GM will do a better job of aligning its social strategy with the rest of its marketing strategy. And by shifting management to the brand groups, it does something more important: it gives social media a place at the adults’ dinner table, not the kids’ table.

That, in the end, may be a better strategy. Maybe marketers should worry less about how much they are spending on social media, or whether there should be a separate budget, and more about whether those dollars are working as hard as they can, producing real, quantifiable results.”

Social and mobile media are some of the most affordable and quantifiable ways to advertise currently available to businesses. Talk to us today about engaging an affordable, effective and progressive social and mobile media campaign for 2011. Text Ata2ud to 90210 Now!


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