It seems like only a year ago that if I started talking about social media in Australia I received perplexed responses. I might as well have suggested that we consider voodoo for the next campaign.
However, while I have stuck to my guns in the belief that social media marketing would emerge as a viable option, I have to admit there were moments when I wondered if we were on the right track.
These days I am more certain than ever that social media marketing in Australia has arrived. Witness these recent activities, announcements and stories:
Less than three months after we announced that Sticky was relaunching as Newcastle's first digital, social and traditional media agency, The Population was born in Sydney via investment from the Photon Group. The story made The Financial Review and brought social media agencies to the mainstream press.
A few weeks ago Gavin Heaton, a social media evangelist here in Australia, launched an employment site dedicated to Social Media Jobs. In a short amount of time, and with only social network promotion, Social Media Jobs has begun building a good list of Australian employment opportunities in social media. I suspect that this site will become much bigger in the next 12 months.
The current issue of B&T Weekly, Australia's highest-circulating marketing, advertising and media magazine, carries a cover story dedicated to social media. The article, Social media gears for growth, announces that
Roy Morgan has launched its largest ever research study into social media in the latest development pushing the new discipline into the mainstream.
The story goes on to say:
Nielsen Online is also now operating in a similar area with its BrandPulse suite of products measuring "consumer-generated media and online word-of-mouth to help companies understand and track consumer buzz"
Photon and The Population get another mention as do advertisers who have employed social media tactics. These include Kit Kat Chunky, Samsung and Pfizer.
Meanwhile in the USA and Great Britain, social media marketing is well and truly established and media groups are jumping on the bandwagon in a big way.
The latest news comes from MTV who announced it plans to acquire the remainder of its stake in Social Project, its partner in developing Flux, a social-networking platform it began to work with in September 2007.
What other evidence have you seen of social media marketing entering the mainstream?