Breaking down the Paid, Owned & Social Media Chinese Walls

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It is easy to forget that social media marketing has one critical challenge. You cannot scale it consistently. If your plan goes really well, it'll scale on its own. Similarly, if things go really badly your marketing efforts (much to your irritation) will probably scale too. However, there's never any guarantee as to why and when your social media marketing efforts will scale. If you're trying to reach a certain number of consumers in a certain way in a certain time period, you simply can't depend on organic social media to do so. Even the most perfect marketer cannot depend on that.

Hence the rise of Facebook and Twitter as major marketing platforms. Facebook's revenues appear to have more than doubled year over year. They realized as did many marketers that while social media marketing is critical, it alone without highly synchronized paid digital media investments won't give the consistent scale that a marketer needs to achieve business results. That's why dollars are shifting to Facebook and Twitter so dramatically. The platforms allow for organic, authentic social media engagement to be scaled up with paid investments through advertising products like Reach Generator and Promoted Trends.

This leads to another challenge though - and that's in how you do budgeting. Historically in most corporations, social media spends have been tied to digital cash budgets and separate from the digital media spends. Those budgets were aligned more tightly with the TV, Radio, OOH and Print spends. Certainly not through the same lens as the social media organic spends. In many cases, they even had different budget owners and organizational hierarchies around them.

Now the two sides of social media marketing need to be executed together and therefore the budget needs to sit in one place as does the accountability. Separating out paid digital media as a separate budget bucket from organic social media makes less and less sense. Thinking of paid, owned and social media as fundamentally different is wrong too. They're intrinsically linked. However, your organization is probably not making that change. It probably even uses different agencies to manage the different dimensions of social media marketing. That's a problem. Break down the paid, owned and social media chinese walls right now.

Follow me on Twitter (@shivsingh) for more insights on digital strategy and social media.


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