Working in an advertising agency, we are often asked by clients and others about where to spend precious advertising dollars. This past year, probably the most popular question has been “what about social media?” and how does a company monetize efforts spent on social media. Tricky questions as it seems any definitive answer remains to be seen. When you see that Coca Cola just wrapped up the largest social media project ever, you can’t help but wonder “yea, but what’s the return on investment?” Sure, three Coke employees got the trip of a lifetime as they toured around the world to 186 countries. But what did Coke get besides furthering their brand on a local level in countries around the world and connecting with those local communities on a more intimiate level than say maybe their competitor. Hmmm, maybe that was pretty good ROI then.
Social media rules really seem to be following along the lines of connecting with the consumer. Bringing your branding to the consumer level in an understandable fashion, thus getting the consumer excited about your product to make a purchase and tell others. Facebook has grown exponentially and even beat out Google as the number one visited site in America in 2010.
So, what will 2011 bring for social media? We will still be in the experimentation phase of how to use social media, connect with the consumer and turn those “fans” into dollars. Facebook seems to be making advances with their advertising platforms which in turn makes it an easier and more palatable advertising dollar spent if you so choose. The decision to play in the social media world is not a difficult one, but there should be some parameters established. What are your goals? Who in your company will be in charge of social media? How will you communincate through all the clutter of social media and connect with your customer? And will you allocate actual budget dollars to advertise on social media platforms? Whatever you decide, social media doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, so embrace it and spend some quality time with it. Happy 2011!