Poll and survey numbers certainly don’t indicate that social media is anything but the next and biggest and greatest. Everyone is on Facebook and Twitter. I consult for small businesses trying to get a handle on how to use this latest round of tools to help them gain and retain customers.
An April 16, 2009 Harris Poll indicated that 48% of US adults have either a MySpace or Facebook account. Yes, over half don’t have accounts, but more adults have social media accounts than believe in evolution or global warming. So it’s big, and marketers know this.
But as marketers salivate over social media and the opportunities to reach customers (rightfully so), I’ve noticed a small chorus of previously engaged social media types turning away. They have hit overload with the demands of being always on, always relevant, always bombarded with new information.
Kevin Randall wrote an interesting post for Fast Company about the relevance of TV and radio — those desperately old-fashioned mediums you’d think were a dying breed. But they aren’t. And just as “traditional” media aren’t extinct, social media won’t be the end-all-be-all. It will be another great way to reach people. But people have to engage with it, and I wonder whether 2010 will be the year of social burnout. Will people realize they can live and succeed without Facebook and Twitter? Will marketers understand that social media is only as good as the people using it? Will real-time search just create demand for more worthless Tweets and obsessive fan page posts to ensure a presence on search engines?
I ask this not because I think social media is worthless for marketing (not at all!) but more because I’m wondering how to both engage social media audiences while engaging non-social media audiences, while reducing budgets, while balancing eight cups of tea of my head while I do an Irish step dance. You get the idea.
Since it’s 2010 prediction time, I’m going to suggest that Twitter will create a carrier pigeon service that will deliver Tweets to the non-Tweeting crowd, thus successfully blending the social and traditional marketing worlds and making my life really easy.
Happy New Year.