Last week, we published a perspective on social media reaching a saturation point, entitled appropriately, “Is social media reaching a saturation point?” It is wise to question when something starts to seem more like a flash in the pan than a lasting trend, but there is evidence to show that social media and social media marketing are here to stay.
In early 2010, Brian Solis wrote about the ROI on social media marketing, “The Maturation of Social Media ROI“, where he discussed how executives were jumping on the social media bandwagon, but were demanding more return on their social media investment. The urge to see some tangible benefit from any kind of marketing effort is natural, Solis argues, but it is the “return” we need to focus on, not just the investment. He describes how companies like Dell were expanding their use of social media in response to $3 million in sales generated from @Dell Outlet; they found that connecting with customers through Twitter lead to a direct result in sales.
“Is Social Media Reaching a Saturation Point” looks at the modest increase in the percentage of internet users expected to use social networks in two years. Yet there will always be figures showing some sort of small increase in users—as more young kids come of age and begin accessing computers, there will be an increase. The question that I think those eager beavers at SXSW Interactive were seeking an answer to is not how many people to reach online, but whom. And how? And what are the best practices for reaching them. Because of the new mini-industry in social media marketing, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Nevertheless, I believe that as long as marketers find the best way to achieve their objectives through social media marketing—increased brand awareness, leads, boosts in sales—their efforts will not have been in vain.