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Social Media Bashing on the Rise

hyping social mediaI’ve noticed more and more folks taking shots at the value of social media. For example there’s Beware of Social Media Marketing Myths from Gene Marks in Business Week. It’s a natural evolution, I suppose, since social media has pretty much been hyped as the way to riches, better looks, and total self-actualization. I mean, this weekend my local paper had articles on twitter in three different sections, including sports. I get it, I’m tired of the hype too.

But, this is exactly the cycle that any valid innovation or trends goes through to settle in. So, to me this is a good sign that social media participation is just about to settle in as a mainstream business tool. Range back a little more than ten years ago and you’ll find media coverage claiming web sites were nice distractions but not really something businesses should take seriously. Of course, blogging emerged in 2004, made the cover of every magazine in 2005, was promoted and hyped as the way to riches, better looks, and total self-actualization in 2006, bashed as overhyped in 2007, and is now a standard business tool that has evolved into the mainstream marketing plumbing. (Oh and by the way, notice how there are very few blog experts left selling get rich with blogs.)

So the crescendo of social media’s hype has reached the point where it’s almost trendy to bash it, and to tell you the truth, debunking some of the get rich with no work elements attributed to social media is a good thing, but to suggest businesses ignore the power of social media because it takes a lot of work to see a payoff is just downright silly.

Yes, it’s a lot of work to fully participate in social media, but it’s a lot of work to write white papers, create case studies, attend networking events, establish relationships with journalists, and train your entire staff to be marketing ambassadors for your firm, but you do it so you can compete and grow.

But, one of the reasons social media is or seems like a lot of work is because of the way most businesses approach it – no plan, no objectives. If you view any form of social media participation as a random act of marketing you will get sucked into the vast stream of busy activity and find little of no value. Like any marketing activity you must enter it with specific goals, a defined plan of attack, a message and content strategy, a measurement path and ultimately a way to turn your activity into leads, traffic, and sales. This kind of approach will help you narrow your social activity to the places and things that matters, help you eliminate unnecessary activity, and keep you focused on total marketing integration. See, social media participation is just one aspect of marketing a business, you need to treat it that way and keep you eye on the big picture.

So, ignore the overhype, conclude that you need to work to make it work, tie your activity to objectives, integrate your offline and online activity, and stick with it and the power of social media will help you gain tremendous competitive advantages in your industry.

I think Lee Odden probably sums it up well with this quote from a recent post, A Case for Social Media – “Why social media? It comes down to gaining a competitive advantage. I like the quote from Oliver Young at Forrester Research: “Marketers who embrace social media will outdistance competition, build community following, and boost loyalty”

And, if you need anymore convincing that the hype on social media is about to die down as it too becomes a necessary part of the marketing plumbing, consider this quote from Jack Doresy, creator of twitter at Internet Week New York, “Twitter’s a success for us when people stop talking about it.” (source CNET article)

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  • hivesusan

    I always enjoy your posts, and this one was particularly timely. I've just started a business to help people get started with social media tools, and I'm so afraid that they willl read all of the nay-sayer articles before they decide to move forward. Thanks for giving me a silver lining and some perspective on the cycle of hype.
    Cheers,
    Susan
    http://www.entreprenew.blogspot.com
    http://www.hive-marketing.com

  • SusanBarr

    Thanks for beginning this dialogue John! I agree with you that social media bashing is a good and healthy part of the cycle that occurs when a new wave of technical innovation has been greeted with so much hype. I see many frustrated small business owners who have bought the hype of the “experts”, created a Facebook page when their target customer is not there, tweeted famous quotes all day to others who are tweeting quotes, and are not profiting from their efforts.

    Yes, the tools are innovative. They are capable of delivering the ability to personalize marketing and create powerful, meaningful , and profitable relationships. Yet, real innovation with technology only comes when it is met by the genius of the business visionary who applies the technology in creative, unique and profitable ways. Business planning is essential.

    Susan Barr
    http://www.selahsynergy.com

  • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

    Susan – you are so right, there are thousands of good ideas and even more technology that can be applied to those ideas, but it's execution in a way that is meaningful to a market that wins no matter the toolset.

  • edwardizzys

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    SEO brings with it tremendous scope for business improvement with improved keyword positioning, improved ranking and overall increase in the ROI and cuts down on the PPC cost extensively in the long run. This is a proven marketing solution if done the right way using the right techniques based on your website requirements.

    I thought this information would be helpful for those who wish to promote their website and get great results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Delores-Williams/846850127 Delores Williams

    I totally agree with you. It is the hyping causing the bashing. Of course, the same thing can be said of E-mail, ppl don't like it because of the spammers. Still need a plan, and to do it correctly. I think once a lot of the spammers get tired of social media because they keep getting blocked and reported, it will be a better platform.

  • Sara J

    I really like how you compared the social media hype to blogging a couple years ago. I have been doing a lot of research on social media lately and the negative bashing is one of the things that has stood out to me the most. Your post really brings the whole cycle into perspective – of course people are going to try to go against such a popular idea that seems to be everywhere these days. In fact, in doing the research I have had much more of a difficult time narrowing down my searches than I have in finding valuable data.

    Good thoughts though, I like how you think of the bashing as a positive thing.

  • http://www.eighthorses.com/ Jenny

    You bring u many great points but one that I was glad to read was
    “See, social media participation is just one aspect of marketing a business, you need to treat it that way and keep you eye on the big picture” This is so true. To many people especially new and small business owners learn a small amount of information on social media marketing or SEO and really fly off the nadle with it. They don't realize that successful marketing for your business consists of more than just focusing on a great tool, you must focus on them all like each is a piece of a pie.

    Thanks so much I enjoyed reading this.

  • http://www.mccloudphotography.com/ Justin

    Thanks for the post John. Although there is a lot of hype regarding the social meda, it's needed in this day and age no matter how big or small your business is.

  • http://www.migpascual.com/ Mig Pascual

    Your right about many business not having a plan. A lot of companies want to adopt trendy technologies, but don't understand how to leverage it.

  • http://redhotfranchises.com/ RedHotFranchises

    Great advice about looking past the social media sites getting the most hype to sites where more business people may be. The reality is people are congregating and communicating in the social space. And while few of us have figured out how to use social media as a marketing tool, marketers still need to be where their target market goes. And that is the social media space.

  • http://www.pooleswatercooler.com/ Bob Poole

    “If you view any form of social media participation as a random act of marketing you will get sucked into the vast stream of busy activity and find little of no value.”

    John – Great observation and great post. I'll be sending this on to some people who still don't “get it.”

  • BobPoole

    “If you view any form of social media participation as a random act of marketing you will get sucked into the vast stream of busy activity and find little of no value.”

    John – Great observation and great post. I'll be sending this on to some people who still don't “get it.”