Social Media has seen it’s sunrise, mid-day glory and is now sun-setting. Or is it? Find out what the question means and our experts think.
Sunset through the Willows.
As I wandered the HubSpot Inbound 2012 Sponsorship Pavilion I started chatting with Peter Kim and Ann Handley at the Wiley Publisher table.
We reminisced about the early days of Social Media (Twitter etc.) in Boston, which was a whopping 5 years ago, and marveled at how many of our friends had become well-known authors and speakers.
The conversation soon focused on how Social Media is being absorbed by Marketing, PR, SEO, Content Strategy, Customer Support and other established disciplines. Peter was pretty certain about this and I agreed.
Later I wondered whether there was any consensus across these disciplines so I asked a few folks that were at the conference, or maybe wish they were and some that weren’t, to offer their thoughts. Here is what they were asked, minus the gracious introduction.
The proposition is that Social Media is sun-setting. It is less and less of an individual entity each day as it gets absorbed into traditional Marketing, PR, SEO, Content Strategy, Customer Support and other established disciplines.
There are two questions.
1) Could you explain why you agree or disagree?
2) How would you describe what might be next? What’s the next big thing?
Below are responses from experienced professionals involved with content writing and strategy, SEO, PR, Video, Marketing and others. I love how each has their own relevant experience and perspective that really helps to redefine the question and offer a range of answers. Social Media is not going away in totality. It is becoming another tool in the toolbox of marketing and other disciplines. That’s my view.
Author of Amazing Things Will Happen and Co-Author of Content Rules
C.C. is a writer, photographer and speaker. He is an explorer trying to make the world a better place through creativity.
Depending on how you write this up, I’m not sure if I agree or not, here is what I do know.
Social Media is a term that was coined to describe the new tactics that marketing could leverage thanks to the ever growing social nature of the web. We needed a term to distinguish it from the old way of doing business, but now it isn’t something new, it is what it is. The web will forever be social and anyone wanting to market online must accept this and determine how best to leverage it for their business.
Communications Professional; Freelance Journalist
For 21 years, Jeff Cutler has created content that captivates and motivates audiences. From news articles that inform and inspire, to social media and communications keynotes and trainings that get people motivated and excited. Jeff is the unique communications specialist who can write on a variety of topics for any audience level. His 100s of training sessions make him one of the most sought-after speakers at conferences all over the world. His fun writing style makes his contributions a welcome addition to online and traditional publications worldwide. Be it food, tech, sport or lifestyle, Jeff has it covered.
1 - The concept of sunsetting is a tricky one when you’re talking about a discipline as amorphous as social media. I say this knowing full well that some social tools and techniques are being assimilated into existing and traditional marketing efforts. But I still see something valuable and unique about methods of communication that keep conversation flowing.
While there are pundits who say social media is no longer the ‘new’ thing, I contend it was NEVER the new thing. Social media is – and has been – communication in a social manner. This means post cards, smoke signals and curly faxes all qualify. As do the images you put on Pinterest and the whines you share on Twitter.
Waiting to catch the next big one.
- Waiting to catch the next big one.
So, is Twitter becoming ‘corporate’? Sure. So did the telephone infrastructure two dozen years ago. But we still make personal calls on our phones. Is Facebook littered with targeted ads and sponsored links? You bet. But a post I saw today talked about how much joy a person felt when they saw updates of back-to-school photos of their friends’ children.
That’s a one-to-one connection that won’t go away – I don’t care if you’re sharing it via electrons or over coffee at the diner on the corner.
We CONSTANTLY lose sight of the fact our social media tools are just vehicles for information. Organizations are going to usurp tools that work for their own purposes with the belief that the audience will come with the tool. What they fail to realize, and this is why I think social media is not sunsetting, is that it’s not the tool that delivers the message – it’s the message itself.
If you try to sell me on your product via pigeon, postcard or Pinterest, I still know that you’re trying to separate me from my money. That’s why personal connections will never stop being valuable.
2 - The bulk of your respondents will comment, “If I knew what the next big thing was, would I be here sharing it with you?” I believe the next big thing will be a way to protect yourself from noise and privacy invasion. We’re seeing sentiment grow against unwarranted tracking of our activities, broadcasting of our location and distribution of our content.
The early adopters see these infractions as a cost of being first. The next wave of people – after the trough – see this as unacceptable. They are using Facebook in ways we first adopters don’t understand. They don’t share complete thoughts…it’s just a text-message platform with pretty pictures. These people don’t tweet correctly. They don’t use hashtags or keep to 115 characters to enable retweeting. And they follow celebrities and use slang – and they never respond to @ messages.
What I see as the next big thing is a maturing of social media tools. A better Internet infrastructure. Hopefully a more competitive data-services arena. And companies wondering why the guy they hired for $100k+ didn’t understand content, marketing or even customer service – even though he had thousands of Twitter followers and knew how to organize a tweetup.
There is no magic behind the curtain, there’s just more curtain. Once companies figure out that social media and the subsequent big things still require hard work, then they’ll be back on track to productivity and success.
Marketing and Business Development Manager
I don’t believe social media is sunsetting, I believe it is evolving. I believe eventually certain demographics will favor one social media platform over another, and we already see this to some extent, but that no one platform will be the favorite of all demographics.
From a marketing perspective, there are many many people taking advantage of the marketing opportunities within social media, there is no doubt on that, however I always come back to content. There was an old story about the head of the patent office, Charles Duell, that urged President McKinley to shut it down, because everything had been invented already. While that story seems to be a bit of an urban legend, I don’t think one can simply say to not start a new blog (or whatever), or write about that topic, because every topic is already blogged about. Quality content will win over eventually, just with the social marketing, people can find out about it faster.
What do you think social media is doing? What’s next? Share in the comments below.
This is the third in a series. Subscribe by email or RSS so you are sure to get the next installment.
Read Part 1 - http://blogwranglers.com/social-media-sun-setting/
Read Part 2 - http://blogwranglers.com/social-media-is-sun-setting-or-is-it-part-2/
All photos by Jim Spencer, except as noted.