According to the Executive Summary of¬†MarketingSherpa’s 2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report: “An important transition in the use of social media for marketing purposes is taking place. In the past year, marketers have been captivated by the ample hype about Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media platforms. Their reaction was, for the most part, counter-intuitive to proven marketing principles. They jumped into this new medium thinking tactically about the the latest social media platforms they could add to the mix rather than thinking strategically about the objectives they needed to achieve.”
What this¬†report quote indicates is that many businesses have jumped on board with social media without really analyzing it’s value¬†or creating sustainable strategies for the realization of¬†long term, measurable results.
It’s true that business owners yielding sales via e-commerce websites are by now getting a real sense of how important social media can be for their company¬†through such methods as simple¬†trial¬†& error observations, cost-volume-profit analysis, traffic/conversion ratio¬†studies, etc¬†. Also, a great many strictly brick and mortar operations may not necessary be using social media to drive online sales, but¬†they are realizing the importance of¬† creating a local virtual presence.
Take for example, fitness facilities who are announcing upcoming yoga workshops and spinning classes, utilities posting emergency updates on power outages, museums trumpetting¬†new¬†public art pieces,¬†retail stores announcing the arrival of new products and last minute sales, pubs creating buzz about visiting musicians etc. While it’s obvious that social media is benefiting all types of businesses for many different reasons, it’s not yet apparent how much resources should be allocated to these¬†social media efforts since the¬†concept is¬†relatively new to mainstream marketing planning.
Over¬†the course of 2010,¬†social media marketing performance reports will be more available to those companies taking a measured approach to understandingthe value social media marketing brings to their particular industry. This may prove helpful in justifying heavier¬†funding to burgeoning social media departments or¬†the recruitment of social media contract specialists. To some businesses, it may just mean assigning more social media marketing duties to a regular part-time PR staff person.
Sure, 2010 will see mean more social media marketing analysis, but it’s smart-response¬†blueprinting that will take precedence this year. To further stress the need for prudent goal-oriented¬†planning, the¬†previously referenced MarketingSherpa report reiterates: “In the year ahead, we see social marketing maturing to the point where a majority of organizations will be in transition from the trial phase to the strategic phase of the learning curve. We see marketers first researching the medium¬†and monitoring audiences to determine realistic objectives, then formulating the tactics and¬†implementing tools for accomplishing those objectives.”
The jury is out that social media is a worthwhile venture, but serious objective-oriented road-mapping should be a¬†priority for the coming year. Stay tuned for the next Fastpivot.com blog, which¬†will discuss social media road mapping strategies.
Contact FastPivot.com to have¬†professional social media specialists¬†create and implement¬†a Social Media Road Map for your business.