Picture 51It’s not breaking news that we are in the midst of a tsunami of activity as the online social media trend reaches full fury. Of course, it’s impossible at this point to assess the effects, impact, and opportunity with any sort of clarity, but we are beginning to see some relatively thoughtful analysis and research in the area.

The Forrester Research blog Groundswell (which should be a regular stop on your blog rounds) has a post entitled “Advertising Will Change Forever” by lead Groundsweller Josh Bernoff, which affirms what we have been observing over the last couple years, “Of all the parts of digital marketing, social network marketing one is poised for the most explosive growth.” As the title suggests, the theme of the post is the death of traditional advertising and media, not necessarily the rise of social media. But Bernoff points to some pretty compelling data to back up his claim, including a projected 34% increase in spending on social media over the next five years.

Future Tense, the daily American Public Media-produced mini show on all things tech hosted by the refreshingly plain-spoken Jon Gordon, picked up on the social media theme today. Gordon interviews internet analyst Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group who has found a strong correlation between social media investment and financial performance. Li qualifies her findings by saying that the link thus far is somewhat indirect—we can’t yet say “have a strong social network presence and see profits”—but the connection is clear. The best scoring brands in her study were active in multiple social media outlets.

Once again, this reinforces the necessity that new ventures have a strong social media strategy. Listen to the Future Tense story here: