I recently read an article titled “The Social Media Industry is Broken… And It’s Our Fault”.
Let me start off by saying “that grinds my gears“. As of December 27, 2013, PewResearch conducted a study that found 73% of internet users 18+ use a social networking site. Let’s use Facebook as our example where an astounding 71% of online adults have an active account in the US with well over 2 Billion social network users worldwide (there are 2.5 billion internet users as of January 2014).
The extent to which you would have to go to formulate an ad campaign that would reach that many (unique) consumers through one platformis unfathomable (unless you’re Google). Elon Musk would say you put a tattoo on the moon like Will Smith in Hancock.
HubSpot displayed some of the most remarkable ad campaigns to date. One of the most successful campaigns ever was the 2008 Presidential Campaign of Barack Obama? The campaign claimed over 2.5 million fans on Facebook alone (McCain & Palin caught on a little later with 625,000 fans). What the Obama campaign did was unlock the true power of social media- of course, with the help of David Axelrod and Harper Reed (Chicago native and “probably one of the coolest guys ever“). That power was to turn people like you and me into screaming, raving advocates for the cause that advocated to everyone in their networks simply by posting, sharing and recommending. “The cause” may be your own business, your civil rights beliefs, your preferred nail salon or how unbelievably awesome House of Cards season 2 was.
Today, with social media still in its infancy, most businesses and marketers have yet to unlock that true power of social media (with over 1 billion users).
Let us not forget that social media, as we know it, has only been in existence for just a decade… and I am being generous by including MySpace to extend that timeframe by 2-3 years… you know before “GarageBand from the Block” was their niche.
It took more than a decade for marketers to figure out the true value of traditional broadcast opportunities such as radio & TV (and medieval hard paper publications). Businesses, corporations and marketers need to harness the fact that 73% of adults (consumers) use social media and that this growing percentage represents the majority of their customer base. They need to unleash and mobilize their customers into screaming, raving advocates spreading the word. Even Nielsen still finds to this day that “84% of consumers around the world say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations… a form of earned media, above all other sources of advertising” (Nielsen, 2013). Well, welcome to the new, amplified age of “earned media”.
To those who feel “Social Media is Broken”… stop utilizing social media like a band-aid to cover a little wound. When you learn to activate your targets (customers, consumers, followers, stay-at-home mothers) you will unlock the true value of social media.