Social media playtime is over for marketers

Josh Bernoff at Forrester has recently reported on what they call “interactive marketing” – that’s use of social media to workplayyou and me as far as I can gather, and it seems that people will be upping their presence in online communities in light of the recession and budget cuts. I love the bold tone of this report – “Go ahead, name another marketing investment that’s anywhere near this strong in recessionary times.”. Err, no, I agree actually.

And where else I agree is in this idea of “playtime is over”. I think playtime should have been over a long time ago, we shouldn’t invest our time in new platforms until we have thoroughly researched it, how it works, who’s using it and how it can work for us. Plus if you don’t know what you’re doing it can ruin it for the rest of us by association.

Here are some of Josh’s top tips for social media marketing that I think might apply to us:

  • Measure the truly relevant results It’s time to redefine web statistics. Instead of measuring all kinds of data that don’t provide added value, measure the data that really interest your clients: number of subscriptions, number of asked questions, rate of interest created in the product etc. In order to get a bigger chunk of the budget for social media you have to prove their worth. Use the right metrics to quantify their impact.
  • If you are a marketer interested in social media, use these stats [and a wealth of others available! – Em] to get a realistic budget, then concentrate on measuring the results of your efforts to prove they work. Don’t dabble; dabblers will see their budgets cut.
  • If you are a consultant or recently laid off person, yes, this is a growth area. But it is one in which there are already an awful lot of experts. To become successful, concentrate on developing expertise in implementation, management, moderation, or measurement of social media efforts; that’s where the need appears to be, from the companies I speak with.

Thanks also to Cordula Werle’s blog post on Vanksen culture buzz.

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