As I, and many others, have been predicting for some time now, the shift towards social media/social networking for marketers is continuing to gain strength, even as the economy continues its sluggish recovery. Jobs and resources are being cut across all industries, and frazzled marketers are constantly pressed to do more with less. Yet a recent survey from Forrester research confirmed that social media marketing budgets are actually UP: 53% of marketers surveyed are planning increases to their social media budgets, and 95% are bullish on SM marketing. It’s important to remember that budgets are still quite small. Some might even throw around the word “miniscule.”
The Forrester reports also warns marketers considering taking the leap to “not approach social media marketing as experimental, but to put the right roles, process and measurement capabilities in place to be effective. Remember, the most expensive cost isn’t the tools. The most expensive part are the soft costs: strategy, education, process, roles and measurement.” A social media strategy might not be cost intensive, but it is human resource intensive. Community managers and strategists are full-time roles, yet as we noted above, people are being cut everywhere.
I take this news as something of a double edged sword. Since I think of myself as a “glass half full” guy, any increase in adoption I see as a good thing. A lack of seriousness in approach or a “let’s give it a try for a few months” attitude will prove harmful both to the businesses that try it that way, as well as to the industry as a whole.
It’s worth noting that Forrester’s report is entitled “Social Media Playtime is Over.”
Is your company or organization adopting a social media strategy? What were some of the factors that sealed the decision?