Organization Name: E2M
Industry: Digital Marketing
Name of contact if available: Pratik Dholakiya
My blog this week will focus on the future of social media. I will present my own predictions which, I am sure, might shock some of the readers (and make for a lively discussion).
“An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less”-Nicholas Butler
Social media experts? Run for cover…
They replicate themselves faster than androids. They call themselves social media experts or social media gurus. They spread their message faster than the bubonic plague – a company that does not incorporate social media on a frequent basis to engage with their customers will die a slow death.
They KNOW, better than anyone, the importance and vital role social media plays in a company’s marketing efforts. Without social media, a company’s bottom line will switch colours from black to red in a nanosecond.
Now, who do you think is better at disseminating that specific message than the so-called media experts? No one. They have inundated the general public with their beliefs and have done so very successfully. Heavy and repeated carpet bombing of their “your business cannot survive without social media” mantra via blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Utube, LinkedIn and all other social media channels has been and continues to be their plat du jour. The end result is clear – company executives have succumbed to one of the seven deadly cardinal sins, gluttony, and over-consumed their message.
Let’s pause for a minute and play a fill-in-the blank game.
I once met a man from Florida, working at NASA, who had a PhD in?
I once met a man from New York, working at the United Nations, who had a PhD in?
I once met a man from Toronto, working at Social Media Incorporated, who had a PhD in?
(blank). There is no PhD in social media.
Social media is a relatively new phenomenon (it really started in the early 2000’s) and the industry is highly unregulated in terms of credentials and designations. What this means is that anyone (yes, even you) can call themselves social media experts (and they do!).
My point is that there are very few true and battlefield tested social media experts and that the “pseudo social media gurus” who lead you to believe that social media is the be-all and end-all for all businesses are, well, dead wrong.
“The true business value of social media likes, retweets and favorites is questionable, at best, and 2015 could be the year that marketers shift their focus to more tangible business goals and organizational objectives”- Matt Kapko
“Almost 85 percent of what you hear on social comes from slightly less than 30 percent of the social media audience — a slice that has distinctly different shopping, media and social media habits. That means that social media analytics can’t tell you what you need to know about your customers.” – Vision Critical report.
This is not to say that integrating a social media strategy plan is not important for a company – because it is – make no mistake about it. As I mentioned in my prior posts, marketing content is the brochure and social media is the telephone – the tentacles (think fast, a big octopus) with which a company can communicate product/service information to a wide audience instantly (and thus gain visibility and capitalize on brand awareness). Social media should be embraced as a component of any marketing campaign – but it is important to understand that it’s simply one of many” tools” in the marketing tool box (and NOT the complete tool box as the “gurus” would have you believe). Furthermore, if you misplace that tool, you’ll still be able to complete your tasks but it may take longer and the finished product might not be as solid.
Turn right or head straight?
So where is social media headed? No one knows. However, I’ll make an educated guess.
The number of active users of social media platforms (that would be you, the general public) will decrease. You heard me loud and clear – decrease with a capital D. For whatever reason, children and teenagers seem to realize that a playground is, and has always been, an outside location (and not interacting on iPhones, iPods within a confined space) and adults prefer to “touch and feel” what they will purchase while tagging along with their friends to window shop. Overall, current and future buyers may prefer – and get ready for this – human (face-to-face) interaction.
Something to think about…
Researchers at Princeton used Google search data to predict Facebook would lose 80% of its users within three years.
Most of us have a Facebook page. Initially, we posted on a daily basis and interacted with our friends very frequently by sharing, liking and commenting. A year later, I think I may have communicated on Facebook maybe once every 60 days – which averages six times a year…and I believe most users are doing the same. The novelty wears off pretty quickly.
Here’s the “thing”. The same applies to Twitter and other popular social media platforms. Everybody wants in, joins, engages in daily postings, dialogues for…a while. Then again, the novelty wears off.
The bottom line is that in a few years, companies will realize that social media is here to stay but that its impact on overall marketing (and thus revenue generation) will fade drastically. My predictions:
- A lot less users of social media platforms. The “novelty wears off” effect kicks in within the next two years.
- Remaining users of social media will use it much less frequently (no one really cares to see a picture of what you ate for breakfast much less hear about your latest vacation).
- Companies will still use social media to communicate with their target audience but with much less emphasis.
The final dialogue:
You: “Hi John, what are you up to?”
John: “I was driving my new car. Didn’t you see my Facebook update today with the picture?”
I had the chance to interview Pratik Dholakiya to ask him a few questions on the future of social media. Pratik is the Co-Founder & VP of Marketing of E2M, a digital marketing agency. He has been featured on sites like Social Media Examiner, Search Engine Journal, Moz and Content Marketing Institute to name a few.
– What are your thoughts on the future of social media?
The future of social media holds a lot of things as to which platforms would grow at what level and how businesses can benefit from them. Twitter has come up with really great features lately such as recording a live video and sharing it with your followers directly. Facebook has also added calls-to-action button on Facebook pages, so those who are using Facebook to promote their business would be able to benefit from it. I’m also noticing a decent sized growth for Instagram and Pinterest so I believe it would be really exciting to see the competition between these four platforms. But social media as a whole will continue to be in demand as I have seen many businesses growing through only social media and a lot of new businesses are exploring it as well.
– Can a business survive without using social media?
I think the answer is yes as I’ve worked with many clients who’ve grown their business without social media. But I’ll always be in favor of recommending businesses to have at least their presence on social media.