Social media is huge these days- individuals are flocking to social media sites and now an increasing number of businesses are getting on board as well. So, what is social media? Wikipedia defines social media as “Information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships.”
Marketers Increase Social Media Spending
According to eMarketer a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group revealed that 63% of companies plan to increase their social media marketing budgets for 2009. More specifically, 26% of businesses plan to increase their budget by 1-10%, 16% of businesses by 11-25% and 21% of businesses by more than 25%. In fact, worldwide social media advertising spend increased by 46.7% in 2008 and is expected to increase an additional 17.3% this year to $2.35 billion.
Marketers Organize Social Media Strategy
Marketers are not simply throwing money at social media marketing; they are also investing in company-wide social media strategy. Here are four vital social media strategies:
- Define social media benchmarks and goals
It is easy to get sucked into social media and lose your way as a brand or end up wasting valuable time. Figure out what you want out of social media and take the steps necessary to accomplish it. Your goal may be to open communications with current customers, or expand your national or global influence, or spread word about promotional offerings; but no matter which goal your company has there are a number of ways to get sidetracked and losing focus can be detrimental to your business. Once you have a solid goal create set benchmarks to measure your efforts.
- Track social media ROI
Social media marketing takes work- it is not something that just happens. Make sure that you are tracking ROI so that you know if all of the time and work you are putting into each of your social media avenues is actually benefiting your company. While some effects of social media are not easy to track (ex. brand perception, customer satisfaction, etc.) you need to make sure you are evaluating whether or not social media is really benefiting your company’s bottom line.
- Establish a way to drive brand recognition and positive word of mouth
No matter what your social media goals are you need to be aware of how brand recognition and word of mouth can be affected by your actions. Social media sites and tools like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, etc. are public areas. Remember that anything your company says can be viewed by users all over the world- so choose your words wisely.
- Create a broad organizational focus on social media
Social media is not just the business of your marketing department- everyone should be aware of your company’s social media efforts. Not only does each employee have his or her own social network that they can potentially leverage, each employee has their own interests and insights that they can bring to your social media marketing. Remember, your marketing department or CMO probably does not represent every facet of your brand or your audience.
-Kate Pierce eCommerce Specialist