Monday, March 18, 2013

Is Social Media Marketing Dead?


By Steve Mehr, CEO of WebShark360

Over the past few years, social media has held a special reign over internet marketing.  When social media became wildly popular a decade ago, there were multiple giants jockeying for space in a rather small circle.  Today, you can count over 100 social media networks.  Recently, a tech writer for Forbes magazine declared that Facebook was dead.  This sent shockwaves throughout the marketing community because Facebook is considered the top of the heap, the titan in any social media circle. If Facebook was dead, what promise did that hold for the rest of social media sites?  Have social media networks already jumped the shark?

The Case for Social Media Marketing
As is usual, technology forward people tend to get bored easily and look for the next big thing.  In the Forbes article, the data provided showed Facebook was beginning to lose teenagers, an early predictor that they may be losing their cool factor.  But this doesn’t mean that social media marketing in general is dead.  Anyone remember when Myspace was top of the social media network heap?  When Myspace faded away, it didn’t mean an end to social media nor did it mean an end to social media marketing.  Instead, I argue that social media usage has grown larger and that today’s social media marketing is no longer focused on one network, but is beginning to diversify and branch out further.

A decade ago, Facebook jumped up to wrestle control of the social media marketplace.  Their popularity was fueled by forward thinking ideas and an appealing interface that left the glitter and bouncing graphics to the kids playing on Myspace.  Facebook looked for bigger opportunities.  They wanted to attract the attention of adults, professionals, and networks of people abroad instead of focusing on the American college kids and teens that seemed to fuel Myspace’s early popularity.  Today, Facebook still enjoys significant market share, attracting 67% of American internet users. But new networks have begun to grow in popularity as well, diversifying the social media landscape.

According to Pew Research’s data from the Internet and American Life project, we see the following social media networks attract the following percentages of users:

  •         Facebook            67%
  •         LinkedIn               20%
  •         Twitter                 16%
  •         Pinterest             15%
  •         Instagram            13%
  •        Tumblr                  06%


Their data sets show clearly that women are a growing segment of social media usage. 71% of women compared to 62% of men are active in social media.  And women are expanding their presence in sites like Pinterest.  Pinterest has become a wildly popular social media platform and has begun to attract corporate heavyweights to the network. It’s viability as a marketing platform is beginning to show as users love sharing glossy pictures of items they love, they want to purchase, and that they covet. If social media were truly dead, then social media networks wouldn’t be growing.

Leverage Your Social Media Presence
As a marketer, the key to successful marketing is to be present in the places your consumers hang out.  And consumers are still in love with social media.  Once you determine where your audience congregates, then the challenge becomes to create content that will attract their attention and gain their business.  Currently, data suggests that consumers are showing preferences for increasingly visual content.  If your company is looking to attract the attention of consumers, it should be creating visual marketing content to share on these social media networks. 

Perhaps what teenagers have been recoiling from is an increasingly ad heavy social media network, which is less friendly to their visual sharing and aggregating needs. The need to monetize Facebook seemed to outweigh users’ actual engagement with the network itself.  Advertisers demand top placement to justify their continued paid presence on the network and unfortunately, users do not appreciate interruptive marketing.  If this is the case, social media marketers should take note not to turn off consumers with an overtly ad heavy presence.  The key is to leverage your company’s social media presence without venturing into the spammy advertiser territory.  As consumers expand their social media circles, your company should also expand its presence to include multiple networks, exposing your brand to multiple consumer profiles. That way when the next social media doomsday prediction is made, your company can rest easy that one network won’t take down its entire social media marketing strategy.

About the Author:
Steve Mehr is CEO of WebShark360, a top internet marketing and attorney marketing firm.  Based out of Orange County, California, WebShark360 works with clients large and small.  The preferred vendor of such titans as Jacoby & Meyers, WebShark360 offers clients comprehensive digital marketing tools including website design, content marketing, social media, public relations, and SEO. For more information, please visit http://webshark360.com or call (800) 939-4850




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