2010 Proves Social Media Matters [Data Included]

Social Media’s Tipping Point

While social media in various forms has been around for much of this decade, 2010 was the year where marketers, businesses and consumers changed how they used these networks. Time’s choice of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg as Man of the Year epitomizes this trend. Underlying our willingness to use social media to communicate and stay connected with family and friends and to follow companies for discounts and special offers is a distinct evolution in how we interact. These changes are reflected in how marketing and business dynamics have transformed around social media usage.

Here are three ways social media mattered in 2010:

  1. Social media platforms reached critical mass and started to implement revenue models. In July 2010, Facebook overtook Google in total minutes on site, according to comScore. By the end of 2010, Facebook beat Google in total visits, according to Hitwise.

    Meanwhile Facebook has been expanding its revenue. In April, Twitter, with 26 million users according to eMarketer, introduced advertising in the form of sponsored tweets.

    Built as an advertising vehicle, Groupon, with over 8 million users based on comScore data, reached critical mass and spawned numerous imitators in 2010.

  2. Social media marketing moves beyond tests. Most notable was P&G’s Old Spice 186 viral social media videos campaign. Kicked off with a big budget super bowl ad and another high budget television ad, Old Spice’s re-branding campaign broke the rules of social media. As tracked in terms of True Reach by Visible Measures, the Old Spice viral video campaign had 69 million views.

    Another big brand marketer, Oreo expanded its social media usage. Its Facebook page has over 16 million “likes” and features a photograph of one cookie-eating fan each week.

    ADDENDUM: In lieu of a super bowl ad, major advertiser Pepsi launched their Pepsi Refresh campaign. One of the social media marketing highlights of 2010.
  3. Social media firestorms cross into real life. Beyond the major news headlines, social media platforms engaged users across a wide variety of topics to influence social discourse and mainstream news. Among 2010’s salient examples were Greenpeace’s issue with Nestle’s use of palm oil, Steve Slater’s unconventional use of a Jet Blue exit slide, and Cook Source’s demise after its use of a blogger’s content without payment. Without broad based social media to heighten and disperse these stories, they would have remained contained issues that were a minor ripple in the news cycle. Instead, they were magnified and gained traction.

2010 showed that social media matters. 2010 also showed that it requires well-developed strategies and tactics to yield measurable results towards business goals. Social media has matured to the point where business should no longer just be testing. What this means for 2011 is that social media must be integrated into your overall marketing and business plans. Social media  In the process, social media monitoring and tracking related metrics will become more important.

What do you think made social media matter in 2010? How do you think social media will evolve in 2011? Please include your views in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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