The Beatles once sang, "All you need is love" and thanks to the rise of social media, it's not just humans looking for it. Brands, once largely relegated to communicating with consumers through one-way mediums like television and radio, have flocked to services like Facebook and Twitter in search of long-term relationships.
If the millions of 'Likes' and followers some of them have attracted are any indication, social media could be the foundation of a happy marriage between brands and consumers. But under the surface, this relationship may not be as solid as it appears.
According to Gartner, brands are increasingly turning to paying for positive reviews, 'Likes' and followers on popular social networking sites and by 2014, the research firm estimates that over one in ten of these will be fake.
While men in the U.K. may have a special place in their hearts for Pinterest, the third most popular social network in the United States is widely considered to be a hangout for women.
Brands seem to be on board with this notion. The US Army, for instance, turned to Pinterest when it wanted to reach a female audience online.
For many companies, a significant amount of marketing spend is dedicated to new customer acquisition, and for good reason: most businesses wouldn't be able to sustain themselves and grow without new customers.
But what about existing customers? How valuable are they, and what type of ROI can marketers realize by tapping their existing customer bases?
Last week we released the latest Econsultancy/Adobe Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing, looking in detail at the current state of social media measurement.
While 69% of marketers surveyed reported that social has a measurable impact on PR and analytics, and many felt that it gave huge boosts to brand recognition, it is also clear that a large number of companies are still struggling to identify clear social attribution.
The truth is, measuring a direct return from social activities is often fairly straightforward, but focusing on this may be clouding your ability to measure what's really important.
Let's take a closer look at Econsultancy's social channels and I'll explain what I mean.
With smartphone usage skyrocketing in key global markets, one thing is clear: mobile is the future, and the future is here.
Not surprisingly, everyone is rushing to capitalize on the significant opportunities that mobile is creating.
Publishers are trying to make sure they have attractive mobile offerings that produce compelling mobile ad inventory that advertisers are increasingly looking to snap up.
For advertisers obsessed with racking up 'Likes' on the world's largest social network, reality can be harsh: not every consumer you're targeting is going seek you out and like you on Facebook.
So what are advertisers to do? Facebook may have the answer.
While Facebook struggles to prove to the world that it can deliver big revenue -- eMarketer estimates the world's largest social network will pull in $1bn less in revenue than previously anticipated -- one of social networking's largest still-privately-held companies, Twitter, is doing what it can to convince advertisers to increase their spend.
The company has several ad offerings, including Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts and Promoted Trends, and much to the chagrin of developers, has been making changes designed to ensure that it has the control over the Twitter ecosystem necessary to maximize monetization opportunities.
While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has always publicly reiterated that he's focused on his social network's long term success and not short-term profit, with his company's shares down 50% since its disastrous IPO, there are reports that the twenty-something billionaire is waking up to the harsh realities of running a publicly-traded company.
With insiders dumping their stocks and billions of FB shares becoming available as employee lock-up periods end, one thing is clear: if Facebook doesn't show Wall Street something in the short-term, the world's largest social network could have big, big problems.
If Facebook is going to keep brand marketers on its side, there's little argument that it's going to have to give them a greater level of insight into their Facebook audiences and campaigns. And when it comes to engaging with all those people who 'like' a particular brand, Facebook is going to have to give marketers a greater level of control.
It appears to be doing just that with new enhanced post targeting functionality that is being rolled out to Facebook Page admins.
Prior to Facebook's IPO, a survey asked Americans what they thought of the world's largest social network. The results: more than half believe it's little more than a passing fad.
Right or wrong, talk of social media fatigue is on the rise and that has marketers, many of which have been investing substantial sums into social initiatives, on alert.