In the early days of social media, when Facebook had just a few hundred million users every month, companies started expressing an interest in advertising on the site. They immediately found the system confusing and had trouble using the free tools which existed to promote their brand via the Social Web. In response to this sudden interest in social media advertising and promotion, new companies began springing up to help them do just that.
Now that Facebook has nearly 900 million active users and sites like Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and even MySpace are attracting their millions of users, just about everyone is looking to take full advantage of social media marketing.
That’s where social media managers work. We strive to bridge the gap between what businesses want to do with social media and what they can do. We help clients use the full potential of social media to get their brand in front of as many people as possible, all while focusing on the specific demographic they are trying to reach. It’s not enough to just say, “I’m going to buy some Facebook ads and be done with it.” If it were that easy everyone would be doing it. But Facebook ads do not equal success.
In order to wield social media marketing to its fullest potential, clients much leverage all the many facets of the Social Web in a cohesive manner. Connecting networks, exploiting niche sites to reach targeted demographics and leveraging a mix of traditional and social media marketing. Remember, although 900 million people currently use Facebook every month, that’s still not everyone in the world.
And even as we strive to maximize the full potential of social media marketing for our clients the rules of the game keep changing around us. New sites are created, old sites fade away; new functions and changes to existing sites seem to happen nearly every day, leaving clients befuddled and customers dissatisfied or just plain confused. Fortunately for us social media is still in its infancy so there are always a host of new and exciting things to challenge us to find better ways of serving our clients.
And fortunately for our clients, social media continues to offer a host of ways for them to increase brand awareness and get their message out to brand new audiences.
For now, Facebook is doing more to nurture social-ad companies than by merely staying out of their way. Through its fbFund, Facebook invested in Wildfire in 2009. It also maintains a stable of 80 vendors, calling them “Preferred Developer Consultants,” that get an early peek at new products.
Facebook executives sometimes refer large advertisers directly to certain startups.
“They approach us and say, ‘We have a client that wants to do a major campaign and they have a short window of opportunity to have it delivered,’” said Don Beck, CEO of Involver Inc., a San Francisco-based social-ad company.
Acquisitions have become one way to win customers in social advertising. Social-ad service provider Context Optional was acquired last year by Efficient Frontier, the online-ad company later purchased by Adobe Systems Inc. Buddy Media said earlier this week it bought Brighter Option, a service for purchasing banner ads on Facebook.
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