Over the past five years tens of millions of consumers have been flocking to social media sites every day – and during that period most of the advertising and marketing community stayed away.
The only sector in the communications mix to embrace social media – first with blogs and now, most recently with Twitter, were those operating in public relations. The rest of the marketing community sat on the side lines and looked on uttering snide remarks about geeks and claiming there was no money in social media.
They either didn’t understand how to join the conversations - without sounding like suits - or they were frightened away by the prospect of associating their brands with questionable content and the great unwashed who make up the vast audiences the internet attracts.
That’s all changed now and a lot of cut-out-and-keep so-called social media gurus (some guy with a week-old Twitter account and three blog post to his name) are emerging from the old deadwood marketing agencies and embracing social media. Why’s that? Simple – the smell of money.
According to the “The ROI on Social Media Marketing” report from the Aberdeen Group, sponsored by Visible Technologies, marketers have developed the tools and methodologies to drive marketing ROI by listening to and learning from customers and prospects.
As eMarketing points out: “The money is following the methods. Aberdeen found that 63% of the companies in their survey (defined as best-in-class) planned to increase their social media marketing budgets this year.
“Companies are learning how to leverage social media and tap into the rising tide of consumers participating in social network sites, blogs, wikis and Twitter,” they note.
“Companies use multiple approaches to identify the individuals who wield the greatest amount of influence in any given topic area and to track changes in their influence over time,” said Jeff Zabin of Aberdeen. “Best-in-class companies engage these top influencers as brand evangelists, and then track the impact of their words and actions in terms of return on marketing investment.”
So here’s one prediction to go alongside Aberdeen’s forecasts – expect the number of social media experts to grow exponentially over the next nine months. What do you think?