2010: The Year Social Marketing Gets Serious

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Marketers will need to start justifying social marketing plans with business cases, objectives and metrics, as the medium moves out of the test phase. In 2009, marketers could brag they had a Facebook fan page or Twitter account, but analysts predict that social media will become a strategic part of marketing efforts next year.

Forrester Research released a list Monday of social computing prediction for 2010. The report suggests that companies that create social councils -- cross-functional teams aimed at sharing ideas about social media -- will begin to get serious about budgets and structure for these groups. Expect the teams to become strategists. Efforts will likely include policies.

The report also suggests that an increasing number of marketers will adopt listening platforms to monitor social media, Twitter will become more profitable or get acquired, Facebook will take a hands-on approach to protecting members, and incompatible mobile devices in siloed application will shatter the social experience.

Forrester Analyst Augie Ray says in 2010, those who hold the purse strings for budgets will want to see results. "It's the year social marketing gets serious," he says.

But rather than knowing how to set up a fan page on Facebook or gain a following on Twitter, marketers must realize that it requires more than recognizing the importance of social media.

The report also goes into detail on what marketers can do to prepare for change. It suggests the Facebook privacy settings will present problems for marketers that target people with more than one page. Companies will establish marketing rules for social media, create clear business cases and move toward a transparent marketing supply chain, so all companies involved in the process can stay informed.

Aside from supporting marketing efforts with metrics, marketers need to remain aware that a maturing market typically means companies begin to consolidate. Ray points to a few smaller social media services popping up around Twitter and Facebook that look like they won't remain independent. "We will probably see some consolidation," he says.

Forrester analysts are not the only experts to predict social media will blossom next year. MarketingSherpa believes so, too.

In the 2010 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report from MarketingSherpa, an increase in Web site traffic ranked the No. 1 objective targeted and measured by marketers, cites eMarketer. Increase lead generation followed at No. 2; increase sales revenue, No. 3; improve search engine ranking, No. 4, and improve brand or product reputation, No. 5.

The MarketingSherpa report also notes that U.S. marketers plan to increase budgets, cites eMarketer. Retail and e-commerce marketers are more likely to increase social media marketing budgets next year, at 79%, followed by publishing and media at 63% and computer hardware and software companies at 55%.

Education and healthcare lagged, with less than one-half of marketers in the industry planning to increase social media spending next year.

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6 comments about "2010: The Year Social Marketing Gets Serious".
  1. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs , December 21, 2009 at 7:51 p.m.

    This is an excellent recap of the Forrester Research report. What's key about these predictions is that they look at not just the development of social media tools, but also how marketers will use them.

    2010 is the year that marketers will stop using social media as tactics without a strategy and begin to use and measure them just as they would any other marketing tool. I beleive that the effectiveness of social media will begin to be measured the same way that we measure advertising or PR campaigns...with a little bit of the way we measure promotions thrown in for good measure.

    As more amarketing dollars go toward social media, we'll find new ways to use social media and new ways to integrate them with offline campaigns.

  2. Evan W from Experience Advertising, Inc. , December 22, 2009 at 9 a.m.

    Good stuff...social should be done big and bold, with a ton of customer service tossed in!

  3. Nick Dimitrakiou from Convidence , December 22, 2009 at 9:22 a.m.

    Great recap - the key to making this a reality will be driven by analytics.

  4. Kevin Horne from Lairig Marketing , December 22, 2009 at 12:40 p.m.

    You would have thought from the tons of blog postings and articles about social media in 2009 that it was pretty "serious" this year.

    The one thing Forrester probably missed - 2010 will be another year with billions of words spilled about how social media should be a "strategy" and not a "tactic."

  5. Jay Deragon from Social Media Directions , December 23, 2009 at 6:58 a.m.

    Engaging in the marketplace of conversations has become main stream, expected and simply the new method of how markets should operate. Since the process is still new many are trying to apply old methods and old thinking with the ability to engage with many for difference purposes. Markets are now trying to measure the benefit of engagement and screaming for an ROI on the investment of time and expense.

    The irony of current behaviors is that the intent is transparent. Marketers want to produce results from us and don’t realize how transparent their intent is to the new marketplace. Intent is the real measurement of effective engagement and the measure of intent is reflected by how well you serve the market of interest.

    The focus and demand on results is akin to playing tennis by watching the scoreboard. Demanding measures for results is typical of old management thinking without taking the time to understand that which creates the results. Being consumed with marketing elements of social technology is silo thinking. Unless any organization learns to "connect" communications and understand the issues that impact the sentiment of communications then all "intents" to create a result will be misguided.

    The banking industry chased results. They got the short term result only to create an collapse of our entire economic system then they had to be rescued by we the tax payer. The irony is that using "social media" to create results is reasonable but using it wrong may created the wrong result. Wrong results and measuring the wrong thing will create long term rejection with no rescue.

  6. Tony De luz from socialocean , December 26, 2009 at 11:15 a.m.

    What I find curious is that the consumer perspective is missing from many of the various case studies and research blogs I've been reading. The initial call to action has been focused on the organization and how they would benefit from deploying a social marketing strategy. I sense a "numbers game" approach will be the de facto framework upon which, social channels will be created.

    Interestingly enough, small, localized businesses with 50 or less employees, stand to serve as the golden children of social marketing, as they are far more transparent to their customer base which potentially translates to stronger real-world relationships. Larger organizations will find it the most difficult to transition from segregated customer care and sales channels to a more social interface, where the sales and service processes and resources are unified to manage the customer relationship. Churn, more than before will be an immensely critical business factor and social marketing, media and management is ideally the best tool to date to effectively manage it.