Long before Facebook or social media ever existed, the quote was:
May you live in interesting times.
Author Unknown. Believed to be a Chinese Curse
While mothers worry about themselves or their children catching a flesh eating disease while on Facebook, Wall Street is all a quiver about Facebook’s earnings and Android users are becoming as paranoid as Edward Snowdon because Facebook might be reading their text messages, we need to stop and use our marketing gray matter.
We need to think and think hard about how we use Facebook – or any social media platform, for that matter – in our marketing efforts to promote our businesses.
It may have started as simple social experiment networking college students. But Facebook has mushroomed into a very serious business, an advertising and marketing powerhouse that we haven’t seen since the introduction of television.
As such, there is a false allure to Facebook, an implied promise that it is all you need for your business, for your marketing.
That is fictional thinking.
Some Facebook Related Facts
Here are what some tea leaves tell me.
- Kids are moving away from Facebook to Instagram and other platforms because they can’t easily be ‘social’ with all of their friends. Why bother if your updates only reach a few friends and family? It’s a fair question we all should be asking.
- There is the added factor that kids are notoriously fickle. They gravitate to the new shinny things and, after a decade, Facebook has lost some of its shine.
- Big brands targeting the kid demographic will follow the kids. So should all businesses that target kids.
- Neither of these trends bothers Facebook, as it recently purchased Instagram for a whole bunch of money. Facebook will continue to generate advertising dollars from those targeting kids.
- Despite Facebook’s debunking of the Princeton disease study, there could be some grains of truth lying within the numbers. A percentage of people could wake up from their Facebook fever, realize how much time – how much of their lives – they are wasting on Facebook and go cold turkey. It could become ‘cool’ NOT to be on Facebook!
- JWT – two of the growing 2014 trends identified in its research showed people reacting to the end of anonymity thanks to technology and having a negative backlash to all of the technology interjected into their lives.
- Facebook could make some boneheaded business decisions – a la Detroit – that could turn off a big hunk of its current audience. On the other hand, it has 6 Billion or so people who haven’t signed on to Facebook, so it could continue to grow.
- Google has been prancing around lately and it could take some steps that might make it a more attractive social platform. It continues to introduce new dynamic products all linking more and more people into its Google web. It may well reach the point where we all convert to Google.
- A new upstart could push Facebook onto its face and start the process all over again.
The possibilities are endless.
Nothing stays the same.
As marketers, our world is ever changing. The ground is never, ever firm.
It is the marketer’s responsibility to keep up with those changes so we can capitalize on opportunities and take steps to protect our businesses from the fallout.
We need to follow the facts and not fall for the fiction.
- Stop thinking of Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. as your primary online marketing presence and start believing that it is your website that is your home base…the place where you send everyone and where all the important stuff happens.
- See these social media platforms as marketing channels or as fishing holes where you go to catch some customers.
- Reel those customers in by making every effort to move your fans, your connections, your followers to your email subscriber database, your next most important online asset.
- Stay alert.
- Continue to monitor your audiences and keep your bags packed and ready to move when they do – because the fact is, they will.
I’m not alone in insisting that you put Facebook and other social media in its proper place. So do some of the better internet thinkers like Chris Brogan, Heidi Cohen, Jon Lommer and many, many other savvy marketers who came before.
As Confucius once stated,
“I do not create; I merely pass on the wisdom of those who have gone before.”
What do you think of the recent Princeton Study? Will Facebook continue to grow and grow or it is natural to expect a decline in audience?
What steps can you take to protect yourself from any potential social media fallout?