2013 – The year social media finally got strategic?

Twitter’s head of UK sales, Bruce Daisley, hit the headlines recently with his statement that “social media campaigns need objectives”. It seemed like a strange thing to hear – if you work in social media, this has always gone without saying.

But in recent months, there does seem to have been a change in the air. Clients – perhaps wary of the #FAIL hashtag or appearing on the Condescending Corporate Brand Page, seem to have taken a step back and regrouped. Briefs are now focused more on training and in-house skills, strategic support and the development of infrastructure plans – often globally.

In terms of objectives – clients are often going back to the sort of core business drivers that all marketing should be measured against – sales, reduced customer service costs and more, with the reassurance that these too can now be measured.

There’s a general sense of decisiveness – less of the testing, trying out, growing Facebook fan numbers for no good reason – and more real plans to make social work the way it should. Tactical campaigns are still happening, of course – but they are increasingly framed by a larger strategy. The idea that content is king (that hackneyed phrase) is being replaced by the idea that content can only be important if you have a plan behind it.

Some element of this may be linked to the widely recognised potential inherent in social media. It’s not just that budgets are growing, but that there are better ways of managing and anticipating returns (such as Yomego’s own model for measuring social ROI), which in turn pushes budgets higher again. And with Facebook’s new links with offline data and CRM systems – so much more that can be done by savvy marketers to tie the marketing ecosystem together.

This development of a more strategic approach is one to be welcomed – an efficient strategy minimises (though of course, never fully eradicates) risk. #Fails and the like arise where tactical moves, and floating content, are misunderstood as the end-game of social media.