State of Social 2010

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I think social media may be everything
An exclusive article by Andrew Girdwood

The heart of social media is about building relationships. Relationships are at the heart of absolutely everything we do online. Social media is not about building websites or widgets.

Social media isn’t even about marketing planners ticking a box next to an RFP for a strategic display or search campaign and ordering up a viral video. Bother, I’m barely one paragraph into this introduction to our social media and online PR research and I’ve used the word ‘viral’ already. It’s a loaded word and causes all sorts of trouble. Let me be clear; if someone is trying to sell you a viral then they’re trying to sell you a promise. Nothing is born viral. A witty video has the potential to go viral - I would describe it as a viral candidate - and social media is the “channel” that decides whether or not the candidate reaches its potential or not. Social media is about people interacting online. Social media is about people talking, sharing, making recommendations, making observations, and about people going online to be entertained. This is why social media can be so powerful but also so difficult to treat as a marketing opportunity. I think social media may be everything because it wraps everything we do online. It should also therefore wrap around all our online marketing activities. I’ve talked to a lot of brands about social media and their marketing activities. There’s a common debate held by many marketing departments that is entirely flawed: you don’t decide whether you want to do social media. Social media happens to you. The challenge brands face is how they’re going to cope with this rapidly evolving new world. How much money? How much time? Venturing on to Twitter, for example, opens up a host of customer relationship management issues. Not being on Twitter leaves brands open to further cries of dissent - cries that might sound out on blogs and start to rank on Google rather than vanish quickly in Twitter’s archives alongside hundreds of thousands of other tweets from that day. Once engaged in social media, brands tend to face the challenge of proving that their time is being spent wisely. This isn’t always the case. Some progressive, and lucky, companies are able to commit to the importance of social media - perhaps as part of a CRM issue - without having to mutter darkly of acronyms like “ROI” or “CTR”. Andrew Girdwood
Media Innovations Director, bigmouthmedia




social media
An exclusive article by Eva Keogan

° 6

to find out who is talking about your brand and where they are. This is done by using a number of listening tools and an added layer of focus groups to gather attitudinal and anecdotal evidence. These techniques identify the behaviour and output of your audience and then allow you to meld and test your insights with them.

1° Listening Research is really the key and the starting point

Strategy By reviewing and analysing learnings, a coherent picture will start appear and allow you to create a useful strategy. There will be some signposts to take note of. Perhaps you have found customers who ask for help on Twitter, there may be communities on facebook which have been set up or forums and boards with ongoing conversations - and you may be lucky enough to discover some great brand advocates who have influential blogs. 

3° Branded channel creation You may find your

audiences clustered around a number of social media channels which it uses and that it is influenced by some key players in social media. Now is the time to invest in building branded channels and this could mean a Facebook page or a blog hub.

Making sense of this new and dynamic environment
By 2007 there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world (including 1456 in the U.S.) selling 395 million copies a day (55 million in the U.S). That same year blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112,000,000 blogs. The latest figures from Facebook lay claim to 500 million active users, and 25 million are in the UK. Added to these stunning figures is the fact that people are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, 24 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Twitter recently published a post on its blog claiming it has 100 million users. How can brands harness the potential of social media and make sense of this vast array of information?  To begin with, this complex and varied collection of conversations and discussions, which are sometimes referred to as the ‘virtual watercooler’,  has people at the heart of them.

Content & credibility The Listening and Strategy pieces will inform the tone and style of content which needs to be developed and this can be an exciting departure from the directional messaging of pure play advertising. Community acquisition There are a number of routes which assist in building a strong and engaged social media community. Financial investment in Facebook engagement can accelerate the growth of a fan page and this has to be incentivised as people need a reason to get involved. Beneath this sits a strategic framework of earned credibility which takes time. Social media partnerships are a great entree into this.
term goals for a brand in social media are to gain insights and understanding which are useful to the business process and strategy. The need to maintain a robust and credible reputation and open up new channels of revenue are very much part of the mix. The next logical step is continue with the listening efforts and draw up a reactive response strategy and then to add in measurement and tracking tools to capture the results of your efforts. Things change rapidly in social media and many of the barriers to entry are dissolving. The uncomfortable feelings of fear and paranoia at a corporate level have been replaced by openness and transparency, even to the point that companies have changed their language from the formal to the vernacular. There’s also a new layer of skill required as social media becomes a stand alone marketing discipline in which everyone is a stakeholder. This skill is by definition a new wave of empathy which runs happily alongside the traditional advertising-led directional messaging which has dominated brand culture for so long and may soon eclipse it. Eva Keogan
Head of Social Media, LBi

6° Reputation and monetisation The long

While there’s no rule book for social media, there are some key steps which can help you formulate a strategy and implementation plan.


Welcome to the Econsultancy

Social Media 2010 Survey
[ in conjunction with bigmouthmedia ]

A lot has happened since we sponsored the very first Social Media and Online PR report with Econsultancy in 2009. The channel’s emergence as one of the most keenly discussed marketing mediums in business today has continued apace, and as we launch the 2010 report we’re proud that it is now fulfilling an important role helping businesses to track a complex, rapidly changing and increasingly important promotional conduit.

4 2

Social Media Survey 2010 continued


Evidence of a maturing industry...
Channel consolidation: winning channels, like Facebook and Twitter, are emerging, with marketers beginning to focus their efforts on them while disregarding minority platforms Senior executive attention is high, with 41% of senior management more interested in social media issues than other marketing issues

The overall report card reveals that while clear evidence exists to show that the sector is maturing, there is still some distance to go before commerce can claim to be maximising the opportunities presented by this increasingly profitable new channel.

High expectations and big plans, with 83% of companies expecting further social media budget increases in the coming 12 months

...but still a long way to go
Resourcing poor, with 29% of firms not dedicating any employees to social media Claims from 49% of companies that a lack of resources is preventing progress Some 42% of companies are still failing to measure ROI on any of their social spend These results confirm the bifurcated approach to the channel that we have observed developing over the past 12 months. While on one hand clients ready to wholeheartedly embrace social media are demanding innovative, challenging and radical strategies, other operations are requesting a more judicious, pilot-led approach. At bigmouthmedia our expert team has been able to deliver positive results from both approaches. If you’d like to see a video presentation of the results, or an exclusive infographic, then go to our website The report starts here, we hope you enjoy it


Social Media Survey 2010 continued


Another key area for potential growth is in the planning and implementation of international social media campaigns. While the channel’s global nature would seem to lend itself to such strategies, a massive 74% of companies report that they do not as yet run them, indicating a key opportunity for the years ahead.

Given the levels of broad industry excitement that have surrounded social media for the past 12 months, it will surprise no one to discover that the overall picture surrounding the channel is one of ongoing growth and opportunity.
In line with a year in which social media has become one of the hottest buzzwords in the world of marketing, some 73% of companies say that they currently spend more resources on social media than they did last year, with only 3% of businesses having decreased their spend since 2009. Yet despite across the board increases, our results show that today’s spending on social media marketing represents just the tip of the iceberg. With only 18% of respondents currently categorising themselves as being heavily involved in the space, a mammoth 83% of companies are expecting to increase their budget for the channel over the next 12 months. Such optimistic figures reflect the increasing standing social media enjoys amongst senior executives. Some 41% of companies claim that their CxO community gives the channel high attention, with only 21% believing it is given less attention than other marketing issues.

How interested in social media is your organisation’s most senior management (c-level executives)?

6 2

Social Media Survey 2010 continued


to do
While the sector has matured over the course of the last 12 months, there is still massive room for improvement. Broadly speaking companies and their agencies remain self-critical about their social media tactics, with most acknowledging that they need to improve their approaches to the channel across the board. Amidst broad acceptance that the majority of businesses remain some distance from maximising the potential benefits of the channel, several key questions surrounding corporate social media tactics demand greater scrutiny:

Limited outreach : Identifying and engaging key influencers
seems a particular sore spot. With less company news being distributed using online press releases and traditional online media relations, this seems likely to be a major growth area next year.

Missed opportunities : Some 19% of companies don’t
use Facebook at all, while 71% of respondents do not use the platform for reacting to customer service issues and inquiries.

Dismal integration : Despite the proven benefits of running integrated, cross platform campaigns, a mere 7% of companies integrate their social media channel with their television advertising. Bearing in mind the ROI synergy upsides of TV-social media integration this is a massive and pressing opportunity for CMOs.

Unheeded feedback : There are still a number of brands (46%) that don’t systematically listen to or monitor what is being said about them in social media; 33% don’t share comments / insights picked up from social media internally.

How well does your organisation cover the following areas of social media & online PR?


Social Media Survey 2010 continued



This lack of commitment surfaces again in terms of budget, 61% of companies are spending a miniscule amount (nothing or less than £5,000) on the channel. With so little being spent, it’s perhaps unsurprising that few place much emphasis on measurement, with 65% unable to quote a ROI for their social media spend. A question remains as to whether low spend is driving lack of ROI or whether lack of ROI is in fact responsible for driving low spending levels. Until such issues over tracking and measurement are solved, they will remain a barrier to wholesale take up.

on the

The resourcing question
While all indications suggest that business is rapidly embracing social media there remains a dual approach, with some companies enthusiastically taking up the channel and investing while others seem content to sit on the fence and wait to see how the practice develops. This is underlined by results showing that while a surprisingly high 38% of companies have two or more employees dedicated to social media, the majority (62%) have one or none.

For how much of the money you spend on social media do you have an ROI figure?

8 2




Social Media Survey 2010 continued


Although the industry has yet to develop a universally accepted set of metrics measuring the effectiveness of social media campaigns, some distinct trends are emerging. Marking a change from the 2009 survey, ‘hard’ measures (such as direct traffic to websites and sales) appear to be gaining ground over softer measures (such as brand awareness, customer engagement and customer satisfaction).

Which are the most important metrics when assessing social media activity for your organisation?

Change in importance of metrics used since 2009 survey

Social Media Survey 2010 continued

Who gets the blame?
While advocates of social media will be delighted by research indicating that the channel has awoken the interest of CxOs, the evidence suggests that this enthusiasm has not resulted in a change in corporate cultures or loosened purse strings.
Indeed according to the 2010 survey results, the vast majority of barriers to successfully engaging with the channel lie directly within the responsibilities of senior executives. With these results, most of which remain relatively unchanged from 2009, the indications are that the frustrations involved in creating a corporate culture that embraces the effective use of social media seem as difficult as ever to overcome. Until senior executives address the resourcing and cultural issues responsible for creating these barriers, it seems probable that marketers will struggle to maximise the opportunities presented by the channel’s development.

What are the biggest barriers preventing your organisation engaging in social media activity more effectively?

10 2



Sound familiar?
Many thanks to all the companies and agencies that completed the survey this year. There were a lot of juicy comments in the free format fields and here are the most interesting, useful and controversial ones. The vast majority are from clients
(anonymously, obviously)

Value got from social media investment
Difficult to measure as it's all part of the integrated approach and does not work independent of other activity, although we are able to look at referrals from them to our sites, but that's the extent of the measure. We always put different urls/numbers or promo codes only for social media. Vital and instant feedback from the end users, via Facebook and Twitter, as well as click throughs to our website after a post on Facebook or Twitter. No hard figures other than increased blog traffic and increased visitation/subscriptions to our social profiles, but we're building a loyal network of followers and fans who we interact with regularly. We'll be able to leverage that network for marketing initiatives down the road. Really hard question. Social Media covers aspects of the business we're not used to focusing on so heavily so new metrics are being introduced. Therefore comparisons with things such as direct mail/ppc are difficult and often put SM in a bad light. Gut instinct. Traffic to sites, improved Google Page Rank, sales, delivery against KPIs. More definitive outputs/outcomes are expected in showing the value of social media activity than traditional PR but that is because the sector is at an earlier stage of evolution. Who really believes Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) or Opportunities To See (OTS) are accurate measures of anything? But they're accepted as PR industry standards because they've been around for a long time, and because clients understand them in a way they don't always understand social media outcomes. Much of the benefit of social media is long-term and cumulative it is not an exact comparison to measure the value against other marketing activity.

but we have included a

small number of agency quotes too.


Sound familiar? continued



Reactions to paid-for buzz monitoring
Could do better. Still gaps. Difficulty to track sentiment and non English sites. It is more costly than one would expect, and requires a significant investment in human analysis on top of the automated monitoring and reporting. Mediocre. They vary greatly in quality. Human interpretation and filtering is essential to obtain any kind of actionable insight. Tools that claim to assess sentiment are wholly unreliable for incisive comms/PR online.   Only relevant if they have human analysis on top of data.

Use of social media insights
A weekly report goes out to relevant parties.   Honestly, it is shared more as a morale booster than anything else. :(   It has raised top management awareness but also suspicion. We are not getting the results others seem to get from Social Media and lack top management buy-in to do things better.   Reviewed Customer Care policy and guidelines. Updated all legal contracts with partners and distributors. Updated all HR contracts. Used feedback for case studies. Used crisis management of fallen brands as case studies.   Segmentation and consumer insights.   We have used them to make changes to the website that a number of customers have suggested.   We often use comments and queries from social media sites to improve our FAQ/support service and monitor customer experience with our product.   We use any and all insights from our engagement with social media to develop products, services and strategies. We don't do everything people suggest or change everything people moan about, but we try to listen to everything and think about it.   We believe that our vertical isn't one which is easy to target via social media due to the customer target (30+).   We've discovered that we have had success in the older demographic (45+) from social media, which was a real surprise, and how to use it to target older clients.


Sound familiar? continued

Particular social media problems and challenges
As a multinational company creating an appropriate balance of local interest material with overall company aims. Encouraging local markets to be involved rather than setting up their own initiatives which may not follow overall aims, best practice, branding or that simply wither and die because they are set up by individuals and don't have the resource to maintain on regular basis.   As many other brands, we need to identify the value of our online influencers.   As social media spans across so many disciplines it's become the new area for inter departmental conflict and like the web years ago, internal customers think it's something you can 'knock up' in an afternoon & tag onto the end of a comms plan.   Controlling spurious and inaccurate comments posted to social media and to the various blogs.   Getting over the fear of not being in control is an issue for some senior decision makers. There's only so many times you can explain to senior people that you can't have total control over social media.   Issue with understanding that social media takes time and is NOT a magic bullet.

How do you think social media will change over the next 12 months?
Become increasingly monetised by advertising, and used increasingly as a commercial channel. This could influence its perception by users and potentially reduce its effectiveness.   Become more important because everyone will be saying it’s more important.  

Bigger and bigger, foursq will die out and be replaced with something we don't know about today.
I hope that there will be more guidance on the measurement of the value of social media. This is the main issue for us in terms of justifying additional spend we really don't know how much value social media is providing at the moment.    Facebook inactivity.   I think Facebook will become more influential as it offers more features for more groups and types of people. Twitter will become a tool primarily for customer service and media announcements and will be regarded more and more as a bit of a fad, the next MySpace if you will. The importance of Bloggers as opinion leaders will continue to rise.   It will become increasingly personalised, meaning that users will only be exposed to products and services that they already know that they will prefer, self-limiting their exposure to other products and services.   It's going to move even more mobile with more people uploading pictures and video and companies interacting with customers in their stores.   Less hype, more focus on measurement and delivering a real return to the bottom line.   Tighter integration with purchase focussed functionality i.e. embedded e-commerce.   Further integration into search. Search engines becoming much cleverer in the ways it deals with social media links.   Users will be pissed off by tons of marketing bullshit being forced into social media by companies.   It will get worse before it gets better.   Don't know!


The belief that social media is free, quick and easy. It is essentially none of those things and creating a valid third space for brands takes talent, time and proper funding.

Keeping the conversation going with customers without a real 'conversation strategy' . Keeping users engaged and communicating over time is a real skill.   Lack of strategy, how can we use social media to generate more revenues. Lack of technology to measure its success, lack of trained people.   The thought that unless we do it brilliantly we shouldn’t be doing it at all. Unfortunately no-one thinks they have the time to do it brilliantly.   Weak leadership is a problem; stronger executive leadership would drive changes in staff and responsibilities.   Not all of our products/brands naturally fit in the social space.   Senior Managers form the various countries have different points of view on social media and top management has chosen a do-it-all approach that lacks real strategy.


Here are some of the most common services our clients retain us to deliver and implement: Buzz monitoring and online brand / product tracking one off, weekly, or monthly. Using state of the art tools and (always) manual intervention. Social media audit - including share of voice, sentiment,
conversation analysis (in blogs, forums, Facebook, Twitter, video), competitor analysis, key influencer identification, and recommendations.



If you need help (a little or a lot) on social media please do get in touch
We’d love to discuss what our social media and online PR service can do to help or improve your existing campaigns. For an informal chat about the options, please contact our people:

Leanne Rinning
Head of Online PR, bigmouthmedia UK

[email protected] 0131 561 2175 @lalrinn Leanne brings a dose of real-world savvy to your online PR, currently overseeing and executing online PR and social media campaigns for clients including Sky, Jumeirah, Nuffield Health, Philips, LV=, Molton Brown, RBS and Samsung. Before joining bigmouthmedia in 2008 Leanne served as a Senior Account Manager at a major public affairs agency for 5 years.

Strategy setting - including consultancy, over-arching social media strategy and internationally. Community set up, participation, content creation and

Blogger outreach - key influencer identification, prioritisation,
seeding, and ongoing outreach and relationship building.

Online news distribution - including graphics and videos. Best practice consultancy and training - bespoke for your

Eva Keogan
Head of Social Media, LBi

Social media campaigns - creation, design, production,
execution and media buy.

[email protected] 0207 063 6233 @nixdminx A recognised social media evangelist and corporate social media expert, Eva Keogan works on clients including Starwood, Barrett Homes and FSA. In addition to her background in social media and communications, she has also been running the successful blog  Nixdminx and is an active member and contributor of a number of blogs and online publications.

Reasons to choose social media from bigmouthmedia / LBi:

Highly experienced - we work with over 50 clients in social media. Strength in numbers - 18-strong social media team. Expert - highly experienced leaders in Eva Keogan and Leanne Rinning. One stop shop - a special cross digital team (rare in the digital
agency world) enables realisation of synergies with other online service we run (SEO, PPC, affiliate, display, usability).

or contact us at: Twitter: @bigmouthmedia

International scope - offices in 15 countries.

For the full report:

don’t miss
To see a video of the survey being presented and a survey infographic please visit:


Do you plan on spending more money on social media in the next 12 months? How much of your marketing budget are you spending on social media?

the survey’s best bits in 60 seconds by David Hardy
Marketing Director, bigmouthmedia

take outs

Concentrated survey best bits, summarised for the busy CMO or head of ecommerce.



We’ll start with an easy one. Only worry if you answered no. Only 0.8% of clients say that they will spend less next year on social media.


28% are spending nothing. The vast majority of the rest are spending less than £25,000. 38% of companies have 2 or more staff dedicated to social media.

What is that as a % of your total marketing spend? Pretty small I’d guess? Is this logical when 22% of the average person’s online time is spent on social media?

How many people in your company are devoted to social media?

The kind of test and learn strategies demanded for successful social media at this stage in its lifecycle require sufficient headcount resourcing. Look at the comments on page 13. Additionally, good social media people are already like gold dust - don’t leave recruitment too late.

How much of your social media spend have you got an ROI for?

Only 6% of marketing departments have got ROI for all their social media spend. 42% have no ROI figure at all for social media.

It’s a young, evolving marketing discipline.  Don’t let lack of ROI stop you from testing (and so spending). If you do, it might be years before you catch up with your competitors.

Are you using Facebook for responding to customer service posts and also promotions?

71% of companies are not responding to customer service issues and inquiries on Facebook. 40% of marketing departments are not using Facebook for product promotion/marketing.

Are you mad? Lay aside twitter and forget your highly expensive new iPhone app, focus on Facebook, generally it’s far more heavily used and so should be your priority unless there is a good reason why not.

Have you integrated your TV campaigns with Social media?

Only 7% of companies have integrated their TV campaign with social media.

A massive synergy (i.e. revenue) upside here. And if you do integrate, when do you brief the social media agency? Is it a last minute rush job so you only get a mediocre result?

Do you use a tool, even a free one, to regularly monitor what is being said online about your brand and product/service?

46% don’t use any buzz monitoring tool (even free ones)

The verbatim survey comments clearly show monitoring tools vary significantly in quality. To be useful to you, a human filter layer (within your social media team or agency) is needed before the findings work their way to you.


U T H M E D I G M O A. B I . C W





0845 130 0022

[email protected]









This booklet was lovingly made from scratch by Andrew Girdwood, Eva Keogan, Stephen Connor, Alba Sort, Iain Bruce and David Hardy. Thanks again to our friends Linus and Alyia at Econsultancy. Lots of coffee was consumed in the making of this guide. This booklet (apart from the survey) is copyright of bigmouthmedia. We are very happy (and flattered, actually) for you to quote or reproduce the content as long as you source it to bigmouthmedia and you don’t reproduce it for any commercial purposes.

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