The Future Investment in Social Media


Blog Article
I love Social Media. It fascinates me and I try to read as much as I can on the ever developing industry. However, this is easier said than done, for example, with Tweetdeck sitting open all day and my various filters on, linked to my Facebook, Twitter and FourSqaure account I am inundated with updates, news stories and the latest developments and campaigns on all things social. What I did have time to go through today though was very worthwhile and something that is becoming a yearly ‘must-read’ – the Social Media and Online PR Report .Econsultancy and BigMouth Media have questioned more than 800 companies and agencies to find out the various uses and level of activity of Social Media, whilst gathering some interesting views on barriers, integration, investment and measurement of Social Media. From working with some of our clients, SM is definitely something on their radar, but is sometimes difficult to convince them of investment as it can sometimes be difficult to prove an ROI. But fear not, there are big developments in the world of SM analytics that are providing companies with greater analysis of their SM activities. The  report gives a great insight as to how the integration of SM is increasing across all industries, whilst also giving a further analysis of where these ‘hang-ups’ still exist when it comes to understanding or spending on social campaigns.

My brief summary of the Social Media and Online PR Report 2010:

Most companies still see Social Media as having a Facebook or Twitter profile, which is currently where around 80% of companies carry out their SM efforts. There has been a strong decline in the other forms of SM based platforms, with less companies using social bookmarking, podcasts and widgets whilst there has been a surge in the amount of attention that geo-location based applications and social gaming has been getting – but very little uplift from companies using this technology. Now I have a lot of faith in the integration of location based solutions to generate increased user generated content and interaction, however there has been minimal use of these services in the UK. The USA is a different story however, with FourSquare being a vital area of driving traffic to small business sites as well as their physical premises. But it’s the larger corporations such as the NBC owned TV channel Bravo, that are being really creative with their efforts. Bravo entered a relationship with FourSquare in February 2010, whereby viewers can ‘check-in’ to shows, earning Bravo branded badges and read tips and ‘to-do’s’. I feel this is just the start of how SM will integrate itself in all mediums of communications.(Details sourced from Bravo! Foursquare Snags a TV Partnership) Sorry, going a bit off topic there, back to the report! The levels of investment in the UK are still minimal, which is evident with the types of promotions being carried out by UK companies in comparison to our American cousins, however over the next year 83% of the surveyed companies are expecting to increase their SM budget. 33% of these companies are spending less than £5,000 a year on SM, whilst there are still some of these businesses committing nothing to SM in their budget. More worrying is the fact that of the companies investing in some form of SM marketing, 42% have no record of an ROI figure. As I said earlier, measurement of SM to provide a suitable ROI is a huge factor in the lack of investment, but I stand by the fact that by asking the right questions and deciding on what your client wants to measure will always give you an ROI that is measurable.

Integration of Social Media is paramount to the success of forward thinking companies, but there are still many businesses struggling to see the value SM can add to your marketing efforts. Many of the surveyed respondents have now realised the potential of creative SM campaigns that can aid paid for and search engine marketing, but most are failing to see how to join the dots. There were some great insights from this report and with 82 pages within the document I have left with plenty of ‘back-up’ for convincing future clients in the value of Social Media. I still think there needs to be further development in the measurement of ROI for SM, but luckily with posts such as A New Framework For Measuring Social Media Activity from the IAB Social Media Council things are looking clearer for all. Anyone else with an insight to the Econsultancy report or anything else contained in my post, drop me a line in the comments, would love to hear your thoughts.
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