One of the water-cooler chats I was involved in a few months ago predicted that 2012 was going to be the year that social media finally fades into the sunset.
I’m not shopping for a new desk calendar yet, but as near as I can tell FaceBook, YouTube, Pinterest, Digg, LinkedIn, and Twitter are still going strong, and getting stronger. Even MySpace has seen a new lease on life over the summer due to an infusion of cash from Britney Spears’ ex.
Social Media isn’t going anywhere. In fact, Social Media may be the fruition of what the early Silicon Valley hippie programmers had in mind when they were helping to lay the foundations of the Internet years ago (remember that the World Wide Web is only a little over two decades old). They saw computers in general, and the Web in particular, as a way to bring people closer together. That is exactly what Social Media is doing.
What may be fading into the sunset is the glut of “Social Media Experts” who have been cluttering things up, along with their supposed hold on what they like to call Social Media Marketing. This isn’t to say that Social Media Marketing will end, but it is a recognition that marketing on Social Media sites is not a separate element from SEO.
When the so-called Social Media Experts (or my favorite,the “Social Media Gurus”) began cluttering the net, they all claimed to have the secret to making wads of money using social media. Their secret was usually that they had the next “dancing cat video” which was going to go “viral” and take your company with it.
This may have been a valid tactic, especially if your customer base is filled with fans of dancing cats! Whether this is a source of valuable leads is debatable.
Social Media Marketing, especially if there is any hope for the campaign to have any measurable success, will require a lot of work. Just like SEO. In both cases there are a few best practices that can help make the required work more productive.
The biggest difference between SEO and Social Media Marketing, if there really is a difference, is that SEO is aimed towards the Search Engine robots, whereas Social Media is reaching more directly to living, breathing, “clicking” people. When you come right down to it, SEO is ultimately aimed at these same real people, but it uses the Search Engine to help find them.
There is no shortcut to success in a Social Media Marketing Campaign, because it is about building relationships. Relationships take time, just like in real life. The advantage to relationships on Social Media is that you may be able to expand one relationship into many. In order to make it work, you need to know how to cross all the T’s and dot all of the I’s.