Is It Time To Get On
The Social Media For Marketing Bandwagon?

Arturo F Munoz Open QuoteI hear YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are merging to form a super-social media site - YouTwitFace.

-- Conan O'Brien

Social Media What is social media? According to the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG)'s survey results out this November, 75% of respondents define "social media as media that is based on conversations among users."

It's peer-to-peer social networking, i.e. your customers and prospects talking to, well, your customers and prospects, preferably about you and in the most complimentary of terms.

Is social media going places?

Only a couple of years ago MENG reported that 67% of business participants said that they increased budgets in 2009 and 2010 to advertise through these media. In early 2012 eWeek ran a survey which revealed that about 90% of marketing executives in the survey actually use social media marketing. Three out of 4 believe these media have a positive impact on their business. But there's more!

eWeek reported that 54.5% of survey participants said that their company's marketing team spends less than 10 hours per week investing in social media, and a full 1 in 3 respondents said they spend only one to five hours per week on social media marketing. Where's the beef?

How integral is social media as an element of these executives' entire marketing mix? No very. Only 20% of MENG respondents indicated social media is an integrated element of their marketing programs and eWeek 3 years later reconfirms this fact.

So what's to be surmised from all this? Is social media going places?

Surmise that social media is lagging, because the basics still apply. Regardless of the technology, who are you targeting? What for? And how? What does it matter that there is technology that makes interaction possible between members of your target universe, if you're not clear on what you're going to say or do through it other than place banner ads or tweet links to your press releases?

Think of blogging. How have you been using this technology in your marketing (you have been using it, haven't you)? Who did you blog for? What did you blog about and toward what end?

Well, if you've been apprehensive about blogging, just keep in mind that social networking is only the next evolution of this technology. It is as cool, intriguing and misunderstood as blogging was 10 years ago. So no need to feel left out. Just adopt what you can understand. Various media become mainstream soon enough.

Just consider what The Economist had to say about blogging last week:

Arturo F Munoz Open QuoteBlogging has entered the mainstream, which — as with every new medium in history — looks to its pioneers suspiciously like death. To the earliest practitioners, over a decade ago, blogging was the regular posting of text updates, and later photos and videos, about themselves and their thoughts to a few friends and family members. Today lots of internet users do this, only they may not think of it as blogging. Instead, they update their profile pages on Facebook, MySpace or other social networks.

If you're not sure yet how new media may improve your marketing ROI, don't fret. Judging by the experience from blogging, the service supplier market will change to show you how to exploit their service offerings and integrate your marketing operation to social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), social news portals (e.g. Digg, Reddit, Mixx, Propeller, Newsvine), multimedia broadcasters (e.g. Google Video, YouTube), etc. and remain capable of targeting who you need to go after moving forward.

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