Interest in social media is phenomenal. Little wonder, as millions of people are interacting like never before. And advertisers are eager to be part of this space, whether it’s via brand pages on Facebook, ad-funded blogs or ad-funded music downloads on MySpace. It is labelled as the very being of Web 2.0, with users communicating with each other and discussing poor holiday experiences, sharing music tastes and downloads, or just keeping up with friends’ latest news.
And advertisers are eager to follow them into this space, whether it’s via brand pages on Facebook, sponsored blogs or ad-funded music downloads on MySpace. Over 100,000 brand pages were created in the first 24 hours after Facebook rolled out its Facebook Ads proposition. MySpace, too, has attracted advertisers’ attention, with over 80% of the Fortune 500 running campaigns across the platform.
Yet, earlier this month, at the Monaco Media Forum, Publicis chairman Maurice Levy labelled Microsoft’s $240m (£117m) investment in Facebook as “insane” and cautioned that advertisers’ rush to embrace social media and social networking in particular was reminiscent of the over-inflated economics and expectations that led to the dotcom crash in 2000-01. So not everyone appears convinced this is the future of marketing. There are over 15 million blogs, yet on average each of them is read by only one person and many marketers remain sceptical
Nonetheless it is here to stay and brands can use social media – in its various forms of chatrooms, forums, blogs, vlogs, photo-sharing sites and, of course, social networks – to their advantage. We look at its strategic fit and how it can affect search results, boost sales, influence brand reputation and, importantly, engage increasingly disparate audiences.
It is time to evaluate where in your strategy social media should sit.