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Social Media, Part Deux

Do you tweet while sitting on the train? Do you update your Facebook status while you’re grabbing a cup of coffee?  More than likely, the answer is not only yes – but the person you’re sitting next to on the train or on line at the coffee house is doing the same thing. 

According to a new study from comScore, almost 31 percent of smartphone users are accessing social networking sites via their mobile browsers in January 2010.  This is an increase of 8.3 points from last year.  Not surprisingly, access to Facebook grew 112 percent in the past year, while Twitter grew by 347 percent.  To put it into perspective, this translates into 25.1 million mobile users who accessed Facebook, and 4.7 million mobile users who used Twitter via a mobile browser.  And these figures don’t even include social networking usage via mobile applications.

Kind of makes you want to stop what you’re doing and focus all your attention on social media doesn’t it?  After all, for years, marketers have been looking for ways to optimize mobile devices; and now with social media mobile usage on the rise, it seems like the perfect wave to ride. 

Not so fast ... my colleague Brandon Friesen, blogged about IAB’s Social Media Buyer’s Guide  and shared some best practices on how to plan a successful social media campaign.  As a marketer, what stood out the most to me from the IAB report was how easy it is to just follow the shiny object and forget that social media has to be tied to traditional platforms that work. 

This week’s Marketing Sherpa chart of the week truly supports IAB’s thinking; social media is yet another tool in the marketing arsenal – not “the” tool.  Take a look at what 2,000 marketers had to say about the effectiveness of social media in terms of achieving various business objectives, such as increasing brand or product awareness and increasing sales revenue.

Bottomline, at least according to these 2000 marketers:  social media is not the silver bullet.  In most cases, marketers think social media is only “somewhat effective” when it comes to achieving their goals.  Like so many other new applications and tactics, social media has to be tied to tried and true marketing platforms.

For us, the bigger question is what do IT decision-makers think of social media?  When and how do they use social media in business?  We have a major study out in the field now that will define how IT decision makers use and consume social media.  With those results in hand, we’ll be able to help technology marketers leverage social media more effectively as part of a comprehensive marketing program.  Please send me an e-mail if you’d like to see that research when it’s complete.