Social media, social media marketing, and social networking have been the subject of much hype, buzz and marketing budget disruption for brands and marketers. Most marketers fought for social media budgets then entered into social media marketing without a clear-cut strategy or way to measure success because the experts hit and run and told them they need to be on social media. Now that the fog of hype is starting to dissipate marketers are finally taking a hard look at social media and blowing off a lot of “experts” who were expert only at selling books and getting big fees for speaking.
With little control over the way our customers experience our brand on sites like Facebook, differentiating brands becomes problematic. That’s the problem with social media that brands don’t own – its value is constantly at risk.
Facebook is foremost a place to connect with family and friends. That was its premise at the beginning and it is the reason most people are initially drawn to the network. Secondarily, Facebook provides a place for self-expression. Thirdly, it provides a place for users to discover content. Yet, for some years, Facebook has failed to effectively innovate on any of these fronts!
Facebook has increasingly lost focus on serving its primary customers. Instead, it has been sidetracked by the need to monetize its user base through advertising and to extend its influence outside of Facebook itself, via its Open Graph protocol. That distraction is evidenced by repeated privacy snafus — Facebook erred on the side of data gathering and data use, at the expense of its users’ privacy, thereby weakening their trust but there is more going on here.
What has happened is that the buzz around social media marketing swept through corporate America like a giant Tsunami and swept away all rational thought and business logic. For some unknown reason a lot of marketers and brands assumed that consumers actually had the time to engage them and actually wanted to engage them ? The young account people from Facebook met with brands and convinced them that spending more money on ads on Facebook, to get more fans, was the answer even though nobody knew what the value of those fans were.
So who’s at fault here? The fool who said “follow me” of the “fools that followed the fool” ? I think a little of both.
I have always said that anyone who claims to be an expert on anything is shoveling dung. Marketing and the business environment are changing too fast for anyone to be considered an expert in social media or marketing. Yet they are there with their pictures on their websites or stupid drawings of cartoon characters with pith helmets. P L E A S E !
Now that a lot of brands and marketing people have requested and received resources for social media marketing management is going to be asking harder questions about the ROI as it pertains to brand and business objectives. Regardless of what you read business is in business to earn money so they can pay the bills.
Social media marketing is the biggest scam and hype of the last 10 years, but the marketers were looking for something to grab onto in an era where consumers have the upper hand.