Don’t let the title of this post fool you; by no means I am suggesting that Social Media is no longer an intrinsic part of everyday life in 2010. What I am claiming however, is that the current ‘gold rush’ is most definitely coming to an end. In short, we’ve moved on exponentially from the early days of Social Media and businesses are now recognising that this discipline needs to be treated as an integrated part of digital marketing strategy rather than its own, poorly organised entity.
The hedonistic heydays of 2009 – “get us a profile on every channel out there!!!” – have now subsided and ushered in a new era of caution. Simply slapping your brand about willy-nilly on every social network imaginable is no longer acceptable practice. After two years of Social Media marketing, we’ve finally reached the point where business leaders are begging the question ‘OK, what now? – and this is undoubtedly a good thing for Social Media, as well as digital marketers working in this discipline.
Social Media has now had enough time to generate discernible findings, reports, feedback, learnings; what works, what doesn’t. Marketers are now able to use Social Media far more effectively for specific purposes and are planning accordingly. A customer service tool; branding; promotions; charity; CSR; value-added; content distribution; sales: the multi-faceted possibilities that Social Media offers means that any SM marketing MUST consist of more than simply having ‘a generic Twitter page’.
So whilst this complex beast requires significant investment from digital marketing teams, this is no bad thing. The ‘bubble’ has burst indeed – but only insofar as unaccountability goes. As Social Media marketers, it’s our task to be more intelligent, which many have been doing already.
For brands that are approaching Social Media as part of an integrated digital marketing approach, I have no doubt that considered strategies and defined objectives will ensure a successful ROI. For those who remain entrenched in the ‘spread it thinly and everywhere’ approach, there can only be one inevitability. Planning, thought and strategy are now crucial to SM success. Those not employing this are all too visible for everyone to see – and their efforts will burst along with the bubble of ‘Social 1.0’.