I’m sitting across the street from the SXSW convention center, yesterday the organizer Hugh Forrest told me that attendees to the Interactive portion (a great deal with a focus on social) was up aprox 20% (just an approximation). I’ve seen many social media strategists (see list) here at the conference that are here to network with the influencers, get educated at the sessions, and to soak in what community really means.
During a recession, marketers are often forced to reduce budgets, in fact, it’s often one of the first buckets to get trimmed. In our latest research, we found that 53% of marketers are determined to increase their social media budget during a recession. Why? The reasons are obvious, it’s inexpensive, the opportunity to benefit from cost-effective word-of-mouth and of course, it’s where many marketers see the future.
Now this doesn’t mean that budgets are expanding immensely, since this is a ‘new’ media, these are small budgets. How small? Three-quarters of marketers have $100,000 of less budgeted for social media marketing.
Even though the budgets are small and growing, we recommend to our clients, in order to be successful, not to approach social media marketing as experimental, but to put the right roles, process, and measurement capabilities in place to be effective. Remember, the most expensive cost isn’t the tools, the most expensive part is the soft costs: strategy, education, process, roles, measurement).
Key Takeaway? Social media budgets are small, but are growing during a recession, yet brands shouldn’t approach this as an experiment, and should have a proper strategy complete with objectives, roles, processes, and measurement.