Over the past several years, many of the world's largest brands have increasingly looked to establish better relationships with consumers by investing heavily in social media.
Now, some of the biggest names in software are investing heavily in startups built to help brands manage their social media initiatives.
Two weeks ago, Oracle acquired social media marketing provider Vitrue in a deal reportedly worth $300m. And today, Salesforce announced that it is acquiring Buddy Media for approximately $745m in cash and stock.
Buddy Media, which, like Vitrue, allows brands to more efficiently manage their presences across the most popular social media services, was founded in 2007 and counts big names like L'Oreal, Ford and Mattel as some of its approximately 1,000 clients. It works with some of the world's largest ad agencies, and has various relationships and partnerships with Facebook, Google and comScore.
The company's client base and position in the market made it an appealing target for cloud-based CRM giant Salesforce, which last year moved aggressively into the social space with the $300m-plus acquisition of social media monitoring firm Radian6. "By bringing together market leaders Radian6 and Buddy Media, we are doubling down on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud to provide CMOs with the ability to manage the entire social marketing lifecycle," Marcel LeBrun, SVP of Salesforce Radian6, stated.
According to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, with Buddy Media now in its stable, "Salesforce.com now has the number one players in social listening and marketing."
The high-dollar acquisitions of Vitrue and Buddy Media come at an interesting time, as Facebook's much-anticipated and now-sadly-infamous IPO have sparked discussions and debates about the efficacy of social media marketing initiatives.
Certainly, there is risk for companies like Vitrue and Buddy Media if companies cut back on their social media investments, but as evidenced by the widely-publicized GM Facebook breakup, it seems quite likely that if there's going to be money in social media, one of the places you'll continue to find it is in helping brands manage their 'free' profiles and pages.