Social Media Marketing’s Promise Realized In 2011, and Stories You May Have Missed

social media marketing promises

Social Media Marketing Promises

“If 2010 was the pitch meeting regarding social media – the big Request For Proposals, if you will – then 2011 will be the year for delivering on that promise.”

– Me, the Splash Media Blog, Dec. 31, 2010

So: how did we do? Better yet: if you’re a social media marketing professional, or a company that’s knee-deep in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blog strategies, how did YOU fulfill this unique communications medium’s promise during this past year?

More big and small companies did indeed hop on the social media express in 2011. But the media loves it when people make public mistakes, so the year was heavy on coverage of brand/celebrity Twitter trip-ups and Facebook faux pas: Anthony Weiner and his crotch, Netflix and its Qwikster, Kenneth Cole and Egypt, former Aflac spokesduck Gilbert Gottfried and the Japan earthquake/tsunami, Ashton Kutcher and Penn State. Yet even those miscues were evidence that social media has firmly twisted itself into the DNA of the media, the business world and pop culture, and that many organizations are still trying to get a handle on social networks.

So what about the good stuff? We always tried to highlight the best social media usage by individuals and companies in 2011, but because of the aforementioned media bias towards schadenfreude, it always requires a little more digging. The examples, however, are there: American Express’s Facebook and Foursquare strategies for Small Business Saturday; the exclusive social media content provided by HBO for “True Blood” and AMC for “The Walking Dead;” and its deft exploitation of Charlie Sheen’s Twitter rants.

“Tools are only as good as the people wielding them; it will be the creative marketing minds within companies, and the agencies working for them, that will soon be hard at work coming up with innovative strategies and tactics that will realize the potential of social media: bringing businesses and customers closer together, and impacting bottom lines.”

– Me, the Splash Media Blog, Dec. 31, 2010

But that’s just me. What did you see as the highlights for social media marketing in 2011? They can be for major brands or smaller businesses. Help us out by highlighting wins from the year in our Comments section. Who do you think used social media best to generate leads, build a fan base, create must-share content, boost sales?

Some of my Splash Media colleagues have already shared their predictions ( for 2012. Allow me to chime in with a few more:

* More Measurement and Metrics – Calls for more ways to measure return-on-investment began this year, but will really get loud in 2012 as companies take longer looks at online marketing budgets and demand more analytics. The social networks themselves have heard, with Facebook and YouTube starting to offer up more data on usage.

* More Movement With Mobile – Just this week, a British research firm estimated that some 300 million Facebook users now accessing the network through smartphone apps. Gowalla has gone away, but Foursquare remains a very viable location-based marketing option as demonstrated by American Express and the Gap. Throw in iPads, Kindle Fires and whatever tablets Google has up its sleeve, and devices get to help unlock more marketing creativity in 2012.

Speaking of Google…

* Google+ Still Not Ready For Prime-Time – I sure like how the Dallas Cowboys are setting a brand standard for Google+ as a content-sharing platform and conversation starter for their fans. And while the growth of Google’s social network has indeed been rapid, it still doesn’t pass the Parent Test for me: if older moms and dads aren’t using it yet to check out pics and the latest cuteness from grandkids – like many now do on Facebook – then true mainstream adoption is still somewhere on the horizon.

Agree? Disagree? Share, please. And consider these social media marketing tips and tricks from the last week of 2011:

Can You Hear Them Now? (Your Potential Audience, That Is)

IBM social business evangelist Sandy Carter offers some great advice for social media listening in this post from Social Media Examiner.

How Business-To-Business Companies Will Get Busy Using Social Media

Totango CEO Guy Nirpaz’s post on Mashable is really about his predictions for B2B social media trends in 2012, but there’s plenty of guidance for what B2B’s can do now to strengthen relationships with customers and supply chain partners.

Did Somebody Mention More Metrics in 2012?

Oh that’s right…I did. And to help hammer home the point, SearchEngineWatch’s Jason Cormier has a thorough breakdown of two data tools that can help marketers zero in on more effective Facebook campaigns.

That brings down the curtain on an action-packed 2011. Please have yourself a safe and happy New Year, and we will see you in 2012.

Posted on December 30, 2011 in Social Media Marketing

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