Is Your Social Media Marketing Strategy A Ticking Time Bomb?

Have you figured out how to tie everything you do into Facebook? What about Twitter?  What I am about to tell you may not be what you want to hear but it is what I overhear on almost a daily basis these days.

The young people in college and the young professionals who have been the champions of Facebook and Twitter, the two web platforms that people like to assume have won the hearts and souls of the masses, are approaching the point where they are ready to move on.  I know this is probably not good news if you have just figured out how to integrate Twitter into your Marketing efforts.  It is probably even worse news if you have made Facebook a big part of your company’s strategy.  The harsh reality is that while people are still using both services, the influencers who adopt early stage technology and web products are ready for something new. 

Whether it is the conversations that I have been having or overhearing in the starbucks across the street from the campus where I go to meet with student advisors and entrepreneurial advisors or the bar where I go to meet the tech set crowd for happy hour, the number of people talking about how ready they are for something new is rising.  As I’m sitting here writing this today, there is a conversation a few feet away about how Faceook was ok while it was just college students but that having your parents on the site kills it.  Yesterday it was someone talking about how they wiped out all of their contacts on Twitter to try to start over.  After things were wiped out the noise level went down a bit, but not enough to really bring Twitter back into the forefront. 

As an entrepreneur who has been using both Facebook and Twitter for some time I have to admit that the kind of engagement that happened when I first started using both services has faded dramatically.  There is so much noise and so little direct interaction on Twitter that it is difficult to warrant spending much time on the service.  The end result is that I just log in occasionally to check it.  Facebook is the same way.  I should also point out that the results that I am getting from targeted ads on Facebook are headed south quickly.  Despite this, the bid prices that are required to get a result on Facebook are steadily rising.  Perhaps both Twitter and Facebook are so crowded with people marketing their businesses and products to consumers and other businesses that we’re all just tuning out.

So what are the young tech influencers and early adopters doing if they are not on Twitter and Facebook.  This is a tough question.  To begin with, the mobile device and mobile app markets have created so much platform and application diversity that we’re all over the place.  It doesn’t matter what you are doing, there is an app for it.  To make matters worse there are more social media experts than ever.  Even NPR’s Kojo Nnamdi Show has the bug.  Their Tech Tuesday broadcast sounds very much like an cross between an Apple product promotional show and a social media flavor of the week discussion.  Not that this is bad – it is not bad at all.  In fact, it is great that NPR has programming for the tech set.

If you get past the laundry list of options out there some clear trends seem to be emerging.  One of them is online communities built around specific areas of interest.  In the younger circles much of this revolves around online games.  A great example of this is Starcraft II – Wings of Liberty.  I should point out that I’m an online and offline strategy gamer myself.  In college I played the original Warcraft, Civilization, Red Alert, and other titles.  Before that I played many others.  Back then you could get online and interact with other people on discussion forums, but not much more than that.  If you had a ton of patience you could play across a modem.  The 80′s and 90′s were nothing if not slow where connecting to others and connecting to the Internet was concerned.  The radical difference now is that you can go online, have a full conversation with someone, and play games with them – all at the same time.  I spend more time talking to people I know from the tech community while playing Starcraft II than I do on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media sites I use combined. 

I’m not going to place any bets on which game or virtual world will be the alternative to Facebook where everyone flocks too, but I will point out that online gaming environments are so far ahead of Facebook and Twitter on a human interaction level that it is not even worth making the comparison.  All I am saying is that we are headed for a big change in how we community online.

4 Responses to “Is Your Social Media Marketing Strategy A Ticking Time Bomb?”

  1. SocialMatchbox Editor

    In response to Saleem, I have to say that I agree to some extent about the international ripples as far as are concerned. But my point is that the early adopters are going to be long gone if they are not already. Sure, people are going to be marketing to willing consumers. This definitely will not change. What will change, and what is changing, is the fact that the early adopters are moving on from these websites. The assumptions that many social media marketing experts are making which informs their constituents’ bets and spending are based on early adopters being solidly in the mix. Once the early adopters move on so does the size of the ripple they send out every time they act or share something.

    Also, with regard to Tim’s comments – I have to say that I agree. There are good reasons why Second Life didn’t take off like Facebook. For starters, it was super slow. As computer prices come down allowing more people to get faster computers this becomes less of an issue. With more people than ever gaining access to high speed and higher speed Internet connections this will also change. So take my example of Starcraft II as an example of a technology platform that could form the basis for the next type of Facebook that comes along. A platform where people can talk to each other in real time using voice, video, text, IM, email, or whatever. Google is making some major progress with products like Wave, Google Chat, Google Voice, etc. that will one day be merged into a unified product that could easily accomplish this. At the same time, companies like Blizzard could do the same with perhaps a few limits.

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  2. Tim Grant

    This reminds me of how I thought Second Life was going to be the next big thing, when I first started playing, the community was solid and vibrant, and ever growing, the sky was the limit.

    Alas with more people comes more dilution, and then the big companies came, didn’t get it, and left, leaving many of the SL entrepreneurs a little taken aback, and causing an equally massive influx of users that didn’t get it.

    The day we can get a social medium that doesn’t get ruined by mass uptake is the day I eat my hat. It’s no wonder people are retreating further into their niches. Interacting with people outside of your cliche is not the path of least resistance by a long way.

    It seems as with any social situations, trying to force people together just forces them apart as communication breaks down.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. We really must not forget the basic rules of society just because we’ve made it easier to contact others.

    So while I agree somewhat, though I don’t think [social media sites] will ever die out, I doubt we’ll ever see 100% of net users on one portal though.

    Oh and Starcraft 2 was a pretty bad choice, at least until they finish their “battlenet 0.5″ interface. But I’m probably biased on this one, since I’m a social gaming veteran =p

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  3. Saleem Sharma

    I do agree with you to a certain extent. But keeping in mind that even though USA and Europe have almost been saturated with Facebook and Twitter, there are still many regions throughout the world where both these social media websites remain a huge lure and are proving to be highly lucrative, especially for local businesses.
    Take the case of the Indian Market, something which represents a tremendous opportunity and is still to have been explored to its full potential. Here the internet too is in its nascent stage and therefore once the Indian population and of other high-potential countries become more net-savvy, such websites will only prosper.
    The talk of something new might be creating buzz in the western bee-hives, but one cannot really generalize the opinion stated. As such there are many examples of brands performing excellently on Facebook and Twitter and becoming immensely popular in the process. (one of my friends actually won a free trip to South Africa just because of his contributions on both these websites). Consumers are continuously benefiting from their social media presence and so will the Social media marketers.

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  4. Andreea Townsend

    I can’t 100% disagree with you because social media is dynamic and changes per user behavior. I most definitely agree that there is a lot of “noise” and spam out there that makes me cautious of who I follow and friend. At the same time, a good marketer knows how to reach their target audience. I think that while some people are ready for the next best thing, there are many adults and young people just now tuning into to social media. They hear of companies offering discounts via Twitter so they log on to see what’s it’s all about. And when they find they’re favorite brand, start following, they increase that brand’s revenue. I don’t think that’s out the window yet. But you are right that something better will come along. And marketers need to have a strategy that is flexible enough to adapt when it happens.

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