The time is now.
Social media is steadily becoming the top way for businesses to achieve brand awareness and promote engagement with existing and new customers alike. And why shouldn’t they? Social media networks are where the people are. Studies show there are over 500 million active users (as of September 2010) on Facebook; Twitter contains approximately 19 million users; there are 100 million YouTube videos viewed everyday; and now with the latest phenomenon, Foursquare, which has 1 million active users and steadily rising, it’s hardly arguable to NOT be involved as a company.
Yet a recent study has concluded that the largest 100 of the Fortune 500 companies are still a little slow to jump on the bandwagon. Some have added a Facebook or Twitter page but very few have integrated themselves through all the major outlets:
- 65% have active accounts on Twitter
- 54% have a Facebook fan page
- 50% have a YouTube channel
- 33% have corporate blogs
- 20% (inclusive) use all four platforms
The reason for such hesitation is primarily due to the lack of ROI. Even though there are some tools to track these figures such as Google analytics, the key is finding trends and tracking them back to their origin. For example, a Facebook post or a Twitter tweet are key in measuring ROI. Considering that social media is still in its infancy, the perfect formula for such a method has yet to be established.
But the movement is catching on. Take Pepsi for example: There’s something to be said when a Fortune 500 company skips placement in the Super Bowl commercial craze and opts for a $20m social media campaign instead. This marked the first time in 23 years that Pepsi did not have ads during the Super Bowl. That’s a pretty big deal; especially when Pepsi spent upwards of $142 million dollars in Super Bowl ads over the past decade.
In its place, Pepsi has launched a social media campaign called the Pepsi Refresh Project, which began January 13, 2010. The premise of this campaign is to stimulate the Pepsi community and others to submit ideas to Pepsi on innovative community projects. Their social media campaign is also for the social good and people are definitely getting excited about it. Currently there have been 33 grants approved to date with over $1.5 million in funds given to selected community projects. This big brand is giving back in a big way and people are elated to see a big company take such social initiative.
The market is definitely changing and as the famous American writer, George Gilder stated, “in embracing change, entrepreneurs ensure social and economic stability.” However, social media marketing may not be for everyone or every business. It definitely depends on your brand and your brand’s target audience; but here at Blackdog, we believe that a majority of businesses would definitely benefit by having some type of social media presence.
What are your thoughts on this shift in advertising? Do you think Pepsi is leading the way for more Fortune 500 companies to get involved in the social media revolution?