Four out of five U.S. online adults now participate in social media. Social networking penetration climbed from 58% of Internet users in 2008 to 86% in 2009 and 80% of female Internet users said they had become a fan of a product or brand on a social network.
Given these surprising adoption statistics, I'm perplexed about the lack of investment, trials and cases proving social media ROI. It's time we brought social media more credibility. Like every other medium, there needs to discipline around the strategy, technology, process and measurement of social media.
Of course, there are companies that are testing social media strategies, but it seems like everyone is throwing anything and everything at the wall to see what sticks. People are tweeting from conferences and events, ads are populating Facebook and YouTube and spam is sloshing around forums and chat rooms like beer at a tweet-up.
Anyone with a Twitter handle gets instant credibility. It's time we increased the discipline and strategic planning around social media and give it the same respect we do every other marketing channel.
Companies should utilize traditional strategic mapping and channel mix analysis with their social media programs in the same way they apply these discipline to other channels. Discipline forces consideration of return-on-investment and leads to better integration with the other channels. This "Social Media Mapping" will result in better results, which will fuel further investment in this underserved medium.
Here are six points to help you map a more effective social media marketing experience:
By applying these traditional marketing disciplines to social media, we'll bring more credibility, accountability and innovation to marketing.