Is Social Media a Fad?

8 Nov

Is social media a fad? I don’t think so. Most other folks in the Web 2.0, Web x.0 and social media world don’t think so either. Do large, traditional enterprises think so? I don’t really think they do anymore. Now that Twitter has become so mainstream that it has become part of the local news anchors’ vernacular, traditional marketers are starting to realize there’s something to this social media thing. At this point, most agencies and marketing organizations are still trying to come to terms with how they can participate, and how they can use this new way of multidimensional, instant and direct communication to connect with their consumers and industry.

Do I think there’s a lot of hype? Yes, absolutely. At times the 1,000s of social media consultants, gurus and ninjas remind me of the gold rush. I think we all get so excited and hung up on specific tools that we forget about underlying marketing and business principles, such as branding, segmentation, pricing (no, not everything should be free), and others. Let’s be excited and passionate, but let’s not throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. Social media, when done right, should augment marketing, customer service and other outward-facing (and some inward-facing) functions, but it’s not a panacea, and it takes time and a real commitment to make a difference.

That being said, one thing that I don’t doubt for a second is that social media has changed the way we communicate forever. The tools will come and go, and that’s OK, it’s part of the normal business cycle. So if you are a social media consultant, please don’t focus your business on just Twitter, but rather understand the underlying communication and feedback cycles. And, in case you are still not sold on the value of social media, take a look at this great visualization of these stats in the video below (it’s not new, I know, but a good reminder). Some of these statistics are staggering.

What does all of this mean to you?