2010 – The Year Social Media Matures

The way MarketingSherpa sees it, marketers have been so busy jumping on the social media bandwagon, few have stopped long enough to consider how this new media form fits into their overall strategy. The rush to set up a Twitter account or Facebook page to test the possibilities of the technology is behavior that can be characterized as Phase I: Trial. As the media matures, and managers make their usual demands about effectiveness or ROI, look for organizations to move into Phase II: Transition or Phase III: Strategic with respect to the social media plans.

To successfully move from the trial stage to strategic deployment, MarketingSherpa recommends taking the following steps:

Research – monitor the target audience discussions about both brand and competition

Objectives – define objectives that align with the target audience and metrics

Action – create a social marketing strategy that contains a specific action plan

Devices — deploy the programs on social platforms that align with audience, objectives and strategy

Currently, MarketingSherpa surveys indicate that organizations are in the following stages of social media marketing program deployment:

  • Trial: 37%
  • Transition: 40%
  • Strategic: 23%

And there’s no lack of commitment to these programs. The following percentages of firms, by industry, plan budget increases for the social media component of marketing budgets for 2010:

  • Retail/​e‑commerce: 79%
  • Publishing/​media: 63%
  • Computer hardware/​software: 55%
  • Business/​consumer services: 54%
  • Manufacturing/​packaged goods: 53%
  • Travel/​leisure: 52%
  • Education/​healthcare: 43%

According to MarketingSherpa, about 60% of social media program costs are traced to in-​house activities – such as staffers who create content or monitor comments. Another 20% of spending is outsourced to consultants or ad agencies. To meet these costs, marketers are shifting part of their current ad budgets to social media. And many will also be formalizing their plans and goals with respect to this marketing segment. It looks like 2010 is the year that social media grows up.

[Source: Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report, MarketingSherpa 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.