Jeremiah Owyang, 01.22.10, 10:20 AM EST
It’s here to stay. Use it to improve your customer relationships
We looked back at 2009 to see that, in many cases, companies struggled to keep up with customers using social technologies. With technologies changing every few months, senior marketers must have a plan for social marketing. But first, to understand what to do, they should consider what’s going to happen in this space in 2010.
Social Adoption by Consumers Continues to Grow
It’s impossible to watch a news show on TV or radio without hearing shows extending their experience to Facebook and Twitter. They know that adoption by celebrities, media, newspapers and consumers is happening. Facebook, which boasts more than 350 million users–more than the U.S. population–continues to show global growth.
Yet we shouldn’t look at social networks alone. We’re now seeing social features in gaming systems like Xbox and PlayStation, and with adoption of mobile devices, social networks that can be used wherever consumers go. Marketers must consider “what’s next” when they are making their social media plans.
CMOs Will Get Their Companies Organized Around Social Media
For the serious players experimentation time is over. Companies are putting real money behind attention-getting social media campaigns. PepsiCo ( PEP – news – people ) has shifted $20 million of its Super Bowl TV ad money social cause marketing in what’s sure to be a much-watched effort. Perhaps companies will learn from Pepsi that social technology is part of every customer touch point.
Likewise, it should be part of every department within a company–not just the corporate communications department. CMOs need to empower the right roles to lead the social marketing efforts. They need to establish “triage” processes so teams can respond instantly to customer tweets, along with policies to protect the company and employees. Because social initiatives often span the customer life cycle from awareness to support, companies should treat launching social initiatives like launching a product. They need to include marketing, product, sales and customer service.
Marketers Will Focus on Customer Goals Rather Than Latest Twitter Strategy
Senior marketers should beware of agencies that approach the table with “Twitter strategies” or “Facebook strategies.” Instead, CMOs should look for agencies that extend their overall customer strategies to the social sphere. Many junior (and senior) marketers have gotten wrapped up in the cool factor of the latest social tool, only to find that within a few months they have to rewrite their plan.