Salaries replacing media buying in social media marketing

I have long thought that the rise of social media will see a transfer in marketing spend from buying media to paying salaries for people to engage with customers.  I’m not talking about a 100% switch, companies will still buy ads of all flavours, including banners on social networks, but I do think it will be a meaningful percentage of the market.

Two things have strengthened my conviction over the last week. 

Firstly this piece on Mashable which describes Gatorade’s social media command centre.  As you can see in the picture below they have build a room with large screens that seats five people who monitor what people are saying about the brand on social media and when necessary engage and/or alter their media strategy.  Here is an example of what that means in practice:

Gatorade’s Sr. Marketing Director, Consumer & Shopper Engagement Carla Hassan offered a few examples, starting with the company’s monitoring of its “Gatorade has evolved” campaign. The commercials featured a song by rap artist David Banner, which, Mission Control quickly saw was being heavily discussed in social media. Within 24 hours, they had worked with Banner to put out a full-length version of the song and distribute it to Gatorade followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook, respectively.

imageThe second argument is a bit counter-intuitive, but stay with me.  I was having a conversation on Friday night with the CEO of a company that is making good money for themselves and for their sports star clients by building profiles for the sports stars on Facebook and getting brands to pay to have posts in the wall streams.  These posts typically generate lots of comments and interactions from the fans generating a real win-win for both the brand and the sports star.  The key here is that Facebook doesn’t make anything from these deals, so even though the brands are paying they aren’t really buying media as much as paying a service fee for association with the sports star.

I think we will see more and more of this sort of thing.

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