Why the Sky is Not Falling on Social Media Marketing - But Hopefully a New Day is Dawning
Every once in a while we get a "Chicken Little" social media article about digital marketing and it's impending demise. While it's not true that the sky is falling, expectations about the power and potential of social media marketing may finally be.
And we may be coming to a time when the pie-in-the-sky promises of the self-professed social media guru are finally outshone by the meat-and-potatoes reality of complementary marketing.
A recent article in Canadian Business boldly proclaims that "the golden age of social media marketing is at an end..." and that the trolls have taken over.
It couldn't be more wrong.
The reality is that the days of the shady, snake-oil-selling, self-professed social media wizard eating from the golden trough are over. But the golden age of social media marketing, I believe, is actually just about to dawn.
The days of false promises, buying influence, padding followers, and gaming the system are disappearing in the rear-view mirror. Sure, there are still going to be those who find new ways to exploit social networks, but the true dawning of the golden age of social media marketing arrives not in the promises of the marketer, but in the maturation and knowledge of the business owner.
Value trumps volume
For a long time, certain people would try to bamboozle traditional marketers and business owners with flashy numbers, impressive statistical jumps, and dramatic changes. Yet it was largely smoke and mirrors. Purchased followers from overseas didn't translate into sales; goofy/kitschy content didn't result in long-term engagement.
And as the smoke clears, companies have started to understand that less -- especially a well-focused and targetted less -- is actually more.
Social media marketing was never supposed to be the be-all-and-end-all. It wasn't the magic bullet that fixed all your corporate ills. But it was fraudulently promoted as such by some less-than-scrupulous people. Other people and companies promoted the admittedly less-sexy-but-more-prudent slow and steady approach.
One Tool in a Larger Toolbox
Social media marketing is but one tool in a larger toolbox. Not more or less important; not more or less influential than traditional media. Yes, it's good at reaching a certain demographic, but it's not a one-size-fits-all approach.
Thanks in part to Google's ongoing Panda algorithm updates the focus is where it should be: creating quality content that's of real value to customers; creating content that matters and is sharable. And, most importantly, creating content that helps your customers meet a need.
The overall numbers may not be as extreme, but the numbers that matter will. True interactions, long-term relationship-building, and ultimately patronage of your business.
And if that's what's meant by the death of the so-called 'golden age of social media marketing' then I say it's time to start celebrating at the wake. Because for me, and many of my colleagues, we're happy to have you join us in the true golden age of social media marketing.
No smoke and mirrors, no false promises, no magic numbers. Just social media efforts that actually matter.
And maybe when people finally stop playing the old 'ad game' everyone can get down to business.