Years ago I sat in a library computer lab at my university and thought, “Wow, the MySpace era is over, upended and replaced by Facebook, but how long will the victor stay on top? If MySpace could fall, surely Facebook will as well. What will Facebook do in the future to lose users in the same way?” Of course, Facebook has done very well for itself since and successfully defeated social media challengers or integrated them into its sweeping empire. That does not change the fact that technology is cyclical and someday Facebook will give rise to a new brand that will occupy that space.
This is especially important to marketers who specialize in social media and technology trends. Facebook built its empire on the sale of information and created a sharing platform irresistible to the masses. That model has changed the DNA of our interaction with the Internet and will likely continue on into the future.
Twitter is growing into a mature platform for short-form discourse and advertising. Pinterest is currently being mined for its marketing potential. Sites with a heavy social leaning are cropping up all over the place and nearly all of them present an avenue for marketing products, but marketers have to ask how long social media will continue to be a trend.
You can register your business on as many social media websites as you see fit, and you may find a way to sell products and generate traffic through one of them that is revolutionary. However, in addition to experiments in cutting edge social media, web marketers must keep in mind the foundations of the business that will always exist with the web. As marketers explore the final frontier of marketing on the web, it’s important that they maintain a foundation of solid tactics that will more than likely continue on into the future.
No matter how easily you are able to join a social media site, they remain inherently complicated as far as meeting business goals. Since they were designed as social networks that eventually incorporated a business aspect, they don’t always lend themselves to infiltration by brands.
Social media groups are inherently driven by popularity, yet the most successful products experience the fastest rate of growth when they are still new and undiscovered by the masses. While it’s understandable to want a presence on the new, cool site the unfortunate rules of middle school still apply: by the time everyone has it, it is no longer exclusive and desirable. Social media marketing isn’t going anywhere next year, or the year after that. But someday there will be something new, and when that day comes we will have to fall back on a foundation of strategy that is typified by plain old good content.
All this to say that it is very important to stay abreast of new technologies when developing new ways to create brand identity on the Internet. It is equally important to maintain best practices for the innovations that got us to this point and continue to propel us toward the marketing future. Maintaining a solid newsletter, engaging the customer, and some campaign management software will go a long way when the frills of social networks begin to fall away and its successor rises from the ashes.
So yes, get on the social networks that make sense for your brand, but also remember the basics that got us to this point, because sooner or later we may have to rely on them again.