Musings on Social Media Futures

And the Death of Twitter as Marketing’s Young Mistress

*Note: Well this is a bit different from what I normally post, but it’s my blog, and it would be criminal not to use it as my own personal soapbox on occasion. Here goes.*

AdAge is abuzz with musings of Social Media solutions to companies’ current marketing needs, but will this be a continuing trend or just the product of a downturned economy and dissipating ad budgets? Will the reach of networks such as Facebook and Twitter continue to expand or has the peak been reached foretelling only an increased signal-to-noise ratio with more and more advertising masquerading as personal opinion? If so, what’s next?

Steve Rubel touts the death of Twitter on AdAge only days after he instructs readers how to become a Twitter Power-User on his blog.

In the meantime, Zeus Jones, Barbarian Group and Coca Cola are singing the praises of Social Media Marketing during difficult economic times due to its proliferation and low cost.

Companies like Apple and Skype, using services such as Magpie are attempting to cash in on the interwoven threads of communication between tweeters.

All of this is either a product of, or, perhaps, the driving force behind the record growth of these social networks, muses Mashable. Most of the new users are joining to listen.

Today, companies have to navigate a fine line between cutting budgets to stay ahead of decreasing revenues while continuing advertising to maintain relevancy for the inevitable spurt of growth which will follow the recession. Social Media is affording marketers a perfect opportunity due to its vast reach and unprecedentedly low overhead. The question then rests on Social Media’s longevity. Based on their recent growth, there is little doubt that Facebook or Twitter will dissipate as social networks – after all, people still use MySpace. They may not, however, last much longer as the magical, dirt-cheap advertising solution marketers are hoping them to be. The foreseeable future may hold new answers for advertisers attempting to make a statement.

The current trend is going “micro”. The reason Twitter has caught the eye of advertisers is because it simulates (or in some cases IS) a grass-roots, word-of-mouth, casual, direct way to communicate with their customers. The downside of this is it only lasts as long as people don’t realize they are being advertised to.
The equal and opposite reaction to the “micro” format of social networking will be the “macro” format that advertising is likely to take when the economy turns around and budgets rise again. Macro Marketing in a few years will have to embody a different format from (and in addition to) today’s massive media campaigns. Perhaps they will utilize user-generated content, perhaps new systems and technologies which haven’t yet caught on – but the short-format Social Media messages are unlikely to be able to sustain the exposure that large companies require in order to stay relevant for the majority of their audience.

The fact that the world of advertising at large is catching on to Social Media marketing in full force, means its days are numbered. Visualize different forms of advertising on the internet as being a series of voices. Currently, some are shouting, some speaking softly, some in long form and some in short. Now imagine everyone moving towards the short form and the same volume and eventually everyone is back to out-shouting each other. As the general noise level increases, in an inevitable attempt to set themselves apart, someone remembers they’ve got a megaphone in their bag. They will start thinking bigger – thinking spectacle, and by then, it might be a welcome break.

Comments are closed.