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Friday, December 10, 2010

For Social Media Marketing, it's the End of the Innocence

It was really just two or three years ago when many "traditional" public relations agencies and their business-to-business clients were wondering if social media marketing was just another shiny new toy, a passing fancy, an amusement for idle minds and hands that would have its 15 minutes of fame and then fizzle.

Since then the question has transitioned from "what if social media marketing is real" to "how do we maximize it for our business?" Add to the list "how do we make sense of the hundreds of social media marketing channels, applications, and analytical tools, etc., that are evolving and being ushered in and out on a daily basis?" And "which ones are right for us and our key stakeholders?"

Flashback:  excluding the early adopters, from 2007-2008 business-to-business public relations and marketing professionals started to kick the social media marketing tires in earnest.  At that time, many professionals and their organizations were signing on to LinkedIn and Twitter for the first time just to be there;   to see what the fuss was all about.  Yes, the great recession influenced the number of LinkedIn and Twitter newbies as these platforms are ideal for job hunters.  But a great many also were logging on to figure out how to begin integrating social media into their existing marketing efforts.

Then in 2009, providers of marketing services in the business-to-business world started their deep dive, en masse, into social media marketing.  And at the same time, PR agency prospects took stock of whether the agencies involved in their new business reviews were walking the social media talk. Do you blog and comment on blogs?  How many Twitter followers does your agency have?  What type of content are you generating and tweeting?  Do the managing partners tweet?  What should we do?  If they didn't ask, they were thinking it.

2010 was a watershed year for the marketing services industry as far as the impact of social media marketing is concerned.

Today, as 2010 winds down, if you live in a B2B world and work in public relations and/or marketing, you are likely (hopefully) well versed in social media marketing -- as a counselor and/or as a practitioner. Because the train has left the station.  In 2011, social media marketing loses its innocence and you better be planning for it.

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