The rise of social media has led to a complete shift in how people communicate, enabling us to create online versions of ourselves while engaging with friends, strangers and everyone in between. Social media has not only affected our communication habits, but it has also transformed and created entire industries.
As the social media landscape expands and evolves, businesses debate its potential to influence consumer behavior. Traditional methods of marketing and advertising have been around for decades and most companies are comfortable with the idea of TV ratings and billboard impressions. But making sense of social media? Well, that's not easy, especially for executives and entrepreneurs.
For companies of all sizes, the questions around social media are many. Here are some of the type of questions I often hear:
- Are social media conversations really impacting brand reputation?
- Should we listen or participate?
- Should we spend our time, effort and money in content that seems to disappear?
- Are the social networks going to "own" us by keeping us within their closed gardens?
- If Facebook has so many users, how come nobody cares about our page?
- We're posting content every day but we're not selling anything as a result of it. Why?
- Surely we can just outsource this whole social media thing to avoid costs, right?
- Should we invest to get the most likes, followers, subscribers?
- Should we trend on Twitter or go viral on YouTube?
- Why are there so many articles about Google+ being a ghost town?
- Our competitors are not in social media so we should avoid it too, right?
- Do we have to bring in consultants or should we hire people ourselves?
- What is the difference between a check-in and a Groupon?
- Facebook acquired a photo app for how much? Do we have to build a page there too?
On and on the questions go.
And in the meantime, the social media landscape keeps changing.
In the last six months alone, Facebook has gone public, Instagram was acquired for $1B, Kevin Rose joined Google, Socialcam and Viddy went viral, Pinterest stopped going viral, Google+ passed Twitter in number of monthly active users, LinkedIn acquired SlideShare, Microsoft launched something called "Socl" and Zynga started showing Facebook ads.
There is much to learn about the opportunity and risk that lies within the networks that are building human graphs online.
My advice for companies of all sizes is to take this seriously. Your competitors are taking it seriously. Your future competitors are not only taking it seriously, they're making it a priority.
In order to help you navigate what's happened in the last six months and what it all means, I've created a presentation about the state of social media in the second half of 2012, from a marketer's perspective. This is a follow-up to another presentation I published on January 1st. That one has been viewed 140,000 times
and I hope this follow-up will be as useful as the original. This presentation will not answer the questions above but it will help you think about such questions in the right content.
I've already received some feedback: the good "very comprehensive!," the bad "overwhelming amount of slides!," and the ugly "you're wrong about Google+." If you haven't seen it yet, check it out below and let me know what you think.
Want the entire presentation?
You can download it by simply tweeting and/or sharing it on Facebook! Click below: