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Is Social Media Wonderful?

DATE PUBLISHED: November 03, 2011
This has been a watershed year for social media and social media marketers. It’s the year the big guns (as in companies) came on board and started using social media in ways that they never had before. Everywhere you turn you keep hearing that social media is the panacea for all of marketing’s shortcomings. But is it as wonderful as everyone is saying?

Let’s take a look at what is really happening out there in social media land.

Engaging customers is becoming a bigger and bigger challenge. There is so much “noise” out there as more brands go social that it’s harder to have a meaningful dialogue with customers.

Some of the smaller social networks are going to disappear. It’s ridiculous to have to put dozens of profiles on many different social networks. The social giant Facebook is leading the charge, but many others will need to begin offering more useful tools to compete for business' business. LinkedIn, one of the few survivors of the first social boom and bust, offers a professional alternative to Facebook.

Since so many people are now using smart phones and portable devices like iPads, social media is going to have to be “always on” – connecting with customers and putting out loads of info on a 24/7 basis. That’s not always easy – but it’s now become necessary.

It’s going to be harder and harder to do social commerce unless businesses learn how to harness the power of mobile coupons and discounts. Social connections on ecommerce sites are becoming increasingly important, because recommendations from friends are still the most powerful sales driver.

Speaking of social commerce, Facebook Places has been all but shut down, but other location-based services are finding ways to provide benefits to businesses. Loopt has partnered with Groupon to offer real-time coupons local to users and Foursquare has struck multiple deals with companies to offer brand recognition and local deals. Other small niche players are going to have to find ways to make their services useful to businesses and users alike. So far, there’s a lot of excitement, but little else. The only ones making money are the investors.

Monitoring a brand is now more important than ever. Even if a company doesn’t have a huge social media program, they still need to monitor what’s being said about themselves in social media circles.

Finally, websites are not going to be of much value any longer unless they’re integrated with social media in order to make them more appealing to users. Pretty soon, people logging in to websites will be doing it through their social network identity, so it will be harder to capture website visitors for follow up marketing campaigns.

All in all, though, social media is booming! And it will do so in the foreseeable future.

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