Business and social networks II – the end of social media’s infancy

1 Apr

by Ben Miller

@ben_at_city

Jonathan Salem Baskin is a well-known US Global Brand Strategist and author. He recently wrote about how brands understand their communication on the social web, and it makes a claer point: it’s bad news for the commercial Big Dogs. Pepsi lost its position as number#2 soft drinks (music to the ears of Coca-Cola!), after having cut its investments in TV advertising in favour of a massive social media campaign, and Burger King axed its collaboration with CP + B.

I think you should consider that the news might augur the end of a fad. No, not the end of social media, but rather the beginning of the end of social media’s infancy. Maybe it’s time to stop talking unseriously and get serious for real. Technology has utterly changed the ways consumers get and use information, and it has completely disrupted how companies create, share and collect it. We’ve had a good run of years in which this revolution has prompted quack science, theory and some good ol’ fashioned mercenary selling, most of it by smart, earnest people who believe that new technology also changed human nature and the very purpose of business function. It did neither. People still need and do the same things they always did, and companies still need to sell to them. Pretending that conversation has any value apart from the meaningful, relevant and useful information within it — fad ideas, like “content” is anything more than a silly buzzword, or that anybody wakes up in the morning hoping to have a conversation with a brand of toothpaste or insurance — is no longer credible in light of the latest news

I agree with the Jonathan’s point of view: saying that social media is key an advertising sense clearly marks the beginning of a more serious chapter for social media. We all know what to do with a Facebook page, we know that having influence on Twitter is no longer a winning strategy in itself, we know how to recognise a true practitioner, and most importantly, we also know that long-term prospects are favourable to the development of a business presence amid the internet’s social circles.

When the day comes that social media bloggers are all community managers, and engagement measures become slightly more standardised (to show to brands that their cause won’t necessarily lead to onsumer buying), one might be able to argue that the social media industry and its followers have entered a fully-matured golden age. For now, the age of reason will suffice.

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