Social Media’s expiry date

“Popular measures of success, such as “Likes”, posts, or Tweets, are no more than proxies for other more meaningful brand objectives. In fact, by definition, setting these goals suggests you may have already confined yourself to creating a one dimensional social media experience.”

Wave 6, The Business of Social, Social Media Tracker 2012, UM

In the peer pressure, “what are my competitors doing” world we live in, we’re saturated with Facebook brand pages which do any of these three things repetitively:

  1.  Serve promotions, frequent coupon offers, and potentially a less frequent gaming application to win prizes.
  2. Customer service handling, available only if the community managers are equipped with the right resources.
  3. Spewing out of free-media brand messaging and communications.

They are all fairly standard social media activations, usually with automated duplicated Tweets, which are boring and now expected by users of these platforms. The worst part is these tactics don’t actually help a business improve their offering or service. They distract to discount with a primary focus on one way communications and little care or appreciation for the shifts in consumer behaviours and technology developments.

It’s stale and with the ongoing changes in Facebook which benefit brand more than individual, it seems these 3 types of tactics will increasingly have less effectiveness as the channel becomes more diluted and repetitive.

Facebook and Twitter can serve brands well when used in this manner, but there is so much more potential to engage with consumers in a real time context that not only improves an individual’s experience with a brand, but creates better economies of scale.

The lines between sales, research, marketing and customer service are blurred but are now easier to manage with the right systems in place. Businesses can look beyond the confines of an old school world, where publishers were the purveyor of their messaging and create their own access points, with their own purpose and their own specific mechanics to give their customers a tailored and convenient experience.

Mobile accessible applications appear the way forward for numerous categories. Brands which have a natural step to self service will see more impact with these tools. More direct paths to sales is one benefit, with another being the continual capture of complete and robust data.

It definitely won’t work for all categories. However, customers are expecting more convenient and increased accessibility with the companies that they interact with. For many customers, the lack of this interactivity is frustrating and a missed opportunity. Continual innovation in this context will be the key to keep customers satisfied and appreciative of their more convenient and what they see as obvious logical experiences.