We’ve changed from a culture of “lulz, what’s your business model???” to one of “zOMG!!1! You want to charge me for posting my commercial on your website?”
The key to remember is that social media is simply a content marketing channel. The side benefits of “community” and “engagement” are vanity metrics that are designed to make the marketer feel good about the impacts of the content we’ve recommended. They are, in fact, unicorn metrics.
As the business of social media continues to grow up, we as marketers and PR people are still trying to measure it by any means necessary. Perhaps you’re using Marketo or Hubspot for formal campaigns and have integrated a CRM to ensure that your content gets the proper credit for the leads it procures. Or perhaps you’re tracking referral traffic and other metrics through Google Analytics. The various integrations of the channels it tracks and if you’ve set up campaign monitoring then that’s great. In fact, it’s even possible to track PR outreach as a marketing campaign to monitor click throughs from email and if pinfluencers are utilizing the content you’ve provided.
But as PR and social media continue to evolve and we all search for the future of the “best” way to utilize social media, we need to remember that there is a growing dissension amongst consumers. With some even stating that social media is dead. It’s not dead yet, but we are killing social media. The emergence of social customer service has alienated those that don’t get service they expect. Attempts at publicity through a hashtag routinely backfire such as recent examples of #myNYPD, #askjenny or #askjpm.
A key thing to remember about social media is that as it continues to come of age, it will continue to assert its own identity. The challenge with this is that your brand does not own this identity. Your brand only owns the identity it can hope to create for itself. This is why we counsel clients to ensure that their social media channels are a reflection of the entire company. Not just a CEO or a Founder, but all the way down to the part-time operations intern.
Utilizing your blog to tell your company’s story is the only way to ensure that as the technologies and communities that make up social media evolves, your ability to maintain your brand’s identity stays consistent. Driving engagement and connecting with communities on social media channels is great for building an audience. But the primary goal of social media should be to drive people back to the content hub.
Social media will never be static. Social media will never be a stable ecosystem that we can count on. Even as it grows up and comes of age, perhaps the best social media tip is to not put too much emphasis on social media.