If you think the days of Blogs, Facebook and YouTube were oh so 2007, it turns out that it's not only fresh as a daisy in the eyes of most Marketers, but there is still a long way to go before it becomes a major part of the overall marketing mix.
"The majority of marketing executives are still in the early, experimental phases of using and measuring social media and 80% say that they have not yet fully integrated the core elements of Web 2.0 into their marketing efforts, according to a survey from the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), reports MarketingCharts.
The survey of MENG members was conducted to gauge the role of social media in today’s marketing practices, and found that nearly 75% of respondents define social media as media that is based on conversations among users (see chart of definitions)."
It gets a little stranger. More than half of the Marketers surveyed see themselves as beginners at using social media for Marketing purposes, and close to ninety percent of them who are involved in programs are not measuring the ROI of their efforts. To top it all off, the majority still see Social Media as the "Wild West." Despite all of that, more than 67% say they will increase their social media advertising budget in 2009.
If they're going to use words like the "Wild West" allow me to continue on that metaphor: "hold your horses!" First off, they don't really use it, get it, or know how to measure it, but they're going to be doing a lot more of it? Plus, are the Marketers surveyed talking about being a part of existing conversations (marketing and communications within the channels) or are they talking about advertising in social media channels?
The language being used in this news item is quite confusing. The Social Media channels have three ways that Marketers can get involved:
1. Advertising - putting display advertising, contextual text ads, affiliate marketing, most of these channels have many opportunities for Marketers, and they're not unlike any type of advertising you're currently doing online (only it's a little bit more expensive because of the mass amounts of traffic and current popularity).
2. Be a part of a community - you can set-up a Fan Page or Group on Facebook, you can start commenting on Blogs and much more. The opportunity here is to look at the existing channels and the existing communities and join their ongoing conversations.
3. Start your own - this is creating your own Blog, Podcast or online community through something like Ning, etc... It's starting off fresh with your own social channel on your own property.
While it may still be the "Wild West" there are many frontiers that are being populated. There are many social circles already formed and established. There are many new types of uses being invented every day. The challenge is to figure out "why" you should be a part of these channels, what value you're going to add and how you're going to measure success.