UPDATE: Social media can – and does – pay

Posted by on Sep 1, 2009 in Building Sales, Social

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There’s been much talk, especially among newspaper executives, about whether social media is worth the effort. Many decry its inefficiency as a revenue stream, primarily because users don’t visit a social site with an intent to buy.  In fact, one prominent newspaper, a social media pioneer, told AIM that its social sites might have to go because they don’t make money. (See an upcoming CIR for all the details.)

Yet, ComScore has just reported that 20 percent of all online advertising impressions come from social networks. The problem, it would seem, is not so much in the social network idea itself, but rather in the particular social media products, their owners, and their method of growing their social business.

Our first recommendation is that publishers and broadcasters take a long hard look at those who are succeeding with social media and online advertising on their social sites and emulate the best practices they find within. Top performers, in order of rank, are MySpace, Facebook, Tagged.com, MocoSpace.com, Hi5.com, Bebo, Classmates.com, BlackPlanet.com, GaiaOnline.com, and DeviantArt.com.

Another important piece of information is the companies who are advertising on social. Again, in order of rank, the top advertisers are AT&T, Experian Interactive, Ask Network, Sprint Nextel, Pangea Media, Microsoft, Apollo Group, Zynga.com, GameVance.com, and Verizon.

UPDATE: AIM’s Classified Intelligence Report has offered a number of tips and best practices on social media and its monetization. One of the most notable was the lengthy glimpse we gave you into the phenomen of “moms” sites, and this most engaged of online audiences. See CIR 9.22, November 20, 2008. In that same issue is the early notice of what is fast becoming a common model – mixing social with recruitment. Last year’s CIR discussion about Jobvite’s social recruitment platform has been followed by a look at several others doing the same. Creating a local social product in these two niches might well be your most important social move.

Written by Sharon Hill

Sharon Hill has been a senior writer / analyst with the AIM Group since 2004, except for a two-year time-out to serve as sales and marketing manager for Suburban Newspapers of America. She worked at newspapers in California, the Carolinas and Indiana as a classified advertising sales supervisor and manager, and in newspaper circulation in Alaska. At the SNA, she was responsible for bringing in new members; lining up exhibitors, and helping develop programs for the classified conference and the classified alliance. She is also co-author of “Implementing and Managing Telework: A Guide for those who make it Happen” (Praeger Press) and a prolific blogger and social media user. She is based in Phoenix.

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