I need to start this post with an apology to Ramon Ray, and a disclaimer that my penchant for being an early adopter may have led to, actually, a late adoption of the social media fatigue Gartner saw back at the beginning of 2011.
You see, Ramon was nice enough to send me an advance copy of his new book “The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing” so that I could review it. I’ve been reading it off & on for the past couple of weeks and I think it’s a terrific reference for small businesses. He’s got lots of great illustrations, tips and quotes from business owners who’ve been there themselves.
But, I’ve had the hardest time finishing it and writing a true review. Luckily for Ramon, others I know, like Gene Marks and Anita Campbell, have carried the ball I dropped. My slacking is no reflection on the quality of the writing or the content. It’s just that the girl who used these slides in 2010 to make my case for launching the Dell for Business Facebook page and who still manages content on the five-year-old Social Media for Business – Powered by Dell page is disillusioned with the platform.
I’m not saying I don’t think businesses should be there. I still think it can be a valuable part of your marketing mix. It’s just that after the EdgeRank algorithm change that reduced post reach, brought cries of extortion and even prompted Mark Cuban to tweet that he’d be moving his business to tumblr or MySpace back in September, was… followed up by adamant declarations that the launch of Promoted Posts had no impact on the news feed reach of the average Page and that poor reach was simply the fault of Page owners putting out poor content, Facebook now… makes a much less-hyped admission that a bug in Page Insights actually was responsible for a real change in reach, well… they’ve just lost credibility with me.
Like Cuban clarifying his statements, I’m not saying pull out of Facebook completely. I’m just saying it wouldn’t be top of my list of budget items. I have no trust that an investment in content creation and engagement will really show a return equal to the creative and human resources that takes. For a small, local business with a much closer customer base, there might still be opportunity and for them I would definitely recommend Ramon’s book. But, does it still make sense for large brands to invest in building up a fan base only to have to continue paying for sponsored posts to reach them post-acquisition?
Maybe that’s why Twitter is the new darling for them and the real-time marketing movement that leads me to my next jaded commentary.
As usually is the case, when something good happens, everyone wants to duplicate it. When your sports team wins a championship, you want them to keep winning. When I got FastCompany coverage for a lesser-known unit of my employer’s organization, managers of other teams immediately wanted me to do the same for them. When OREOS reached millions beyond their initial Twitter followers with funny images during the Super Bowl blackout, every other big brand wanted to do the same at the next big event.
And this brings us to the Academy Awards ceremony.
There were a lot of companies trying really hard to re-create a magic moment and a lot of marketing/advertising people debating the tactic in the same real-time it was being leveraged. AdWeek called it a “fingernails-on-the-chalkboard crescendo.” I mostly tuned it out.
Between my husband’s complaints about me watching the Super Bowl with Twitter rather than with him when he was in the room with me, and the excessive snarkiness in tweets about what people were wearing or saying (yes, I know we all do it, but some seemed really bad – although not all as bad as The Onion), I mostly kept my Twitter-addicted hands off my smartphone during the ceremony.
In his post titled “The Content Crash,” Mitch Joel asked what I think is a very prescient question: At what point do consumers push back, unfriend, unfollow, unplus and whatever else? Surely I’m not alone in feeling like I don’t really want to get tweets from the snacks I’m eating while watching an event.
Maybe I’m just part of the “Angry Mob Fun Run” pictured on this post about “Why the Content Marketing Backlash is Getting it Wrong.” The whole concept of – or maybe the hype of the concept of – content marketing just makes me tired. I have to wonder, then, if it’s true disenchantment or just temporary burnout that can be cured by a good vacation.
Well, I’ll be testing that out soon as I am getting ready to leave Austin at the exact time each spring when everyone else it seems comes to town. For the first time since 2007, I will not be attending SXSW Interactive. I will instead be trading the crowded panels and parties for long Spring Break lines at Disney World.
In the past, SXSW was actually the place to learn about those new technologies I crave, meet interesting people doing creative, crazy things and get inspired to apply the tech and the ideas to my work. But, I didn’t leave with that feeling last year, so I’m not terribly sad to miss it this year. And, there are only so many years left when my girl will actually be asking to take a family vacation.
So, SXSW will go on without me and we’ll just have to wait and see if that means I miss that next big thing that will take me from jaded to fresh, energized and enthusiastic.