I co-founded a social marketing company in 2006. It wasn't quite called "social" then (it was called "web 2.0"), but then, in 2007, the feeds and widgets of web 2.0 turned into the streams, tabs and apps of social media and a whole wave of social marketing solutions was born from that shift. Things have shifted again. The first wave of social marketing innovation is complete, confirmed by the recent acquisitions of Buddy Media, Wildfire, Vitrue, Context Optional and Involver. These innovative companies hit their stride by addressing the shift back in 2007.
While much of the tech and financial world has been focused on Facebook's post-IPO performance, something else has happened that is starting to define the social marketplace. Savvy firms like Salesforce.com and Oracle have strategically gobbled up some of the top social vendors. These acquisitions signify that social business has become big business. The formulation of meaningful social categories is also taking shape, and marketers - particularly CMOs - should take note as they look to gain real ROI from social.