February 19, 2017

Rachel Strella

Social Media: Then and Now

Social media

When I started this business in 2010, the world was my oyster. Social media was still relatively new and mysterious, particularly to the business community. In 2017, it’s a much different story. All I can say for sure is that I’m glad I got in the game early because it’s not the same.

Blogging, alone, has changed the social media landscape dramatically. It’s most relevant to me because it’s my core business strategy for acquiring new inbound leads.

In 2010, if you took the time to blog consistently – say once a week or even, every other week – and the content was relevant to the audience, you were ahead of the curve. After a year, your blog likely ranked well in search and you probably had a loyal readership, at least from the folks who had an interest in your blog topic.

Not anymore. Content shock has taken over. It’s not enough to simply blog. It’s not enough to blog with super high-quality content. It’s not enough just to put it out there to the target audience. Content needs to be promoted, distributed and ignited!

Simply put, content is not enough. The economic value of content is zero unless it’s being read and moved. Data on the web is on the rise and will only continue. In fact, it will increase 500% by the year 2020.

I receive dozens of inquires from budding social media managers who would like my advice on breaking into the business. Frankly, I don’t have the heart to tell them that they are late to the game. They should know someone who can give them a boost or they may as well go work for an agency, because the days of running your own show, in this maze, will require solid results. Don't get me wrong - it's not the case for everyone. Those who have been in the field of online marketing have what it takes to make it happen.  Folks that have little experience in the field will have their work cut out for them.

Facebook is another example. Those who had a Facebook business page – in 2010 – were happy because the fans actually viewed and read their content. Now, even if you can get fans, less than 15% of them see the content – and even if you boost it, the reach is significantly less than it was when boosting became a household thing circa 2013. Engagement on the page is still critical to being seen, so if your content sucks most of the time, a boost is worthless.

I’m not trying to discourage you. I’m trying to make you aware that the build it and they will come mentality is over, not that it ever really existed in any sustainable way. If you want social media to work for you, it’s going to take a strategic approach and it’s probably going to take some money. Whether that means you hire a professional to help you determine your strategy or you put some advertising dollars behind the efforts (or both, in most cases), it’s going to take more than a tweet to make a real splash in the social media world. There is still a great opportunity to carve out your own space, if you're willing to do the work. If this is you, I highly recommend checking out Mark Schaefer's most recent book, Known.

It’s a blessing and curse running a company in an ever-changing industry. It’s a blessing to have the knowledge and expertise that helps our clients navigate the social media space, but it’s a curse to help clients who want a magic bullet – especially those who are relatively new to social media and have a shoestring budget.  Truth be told that it is possible to win on social media, but not with the same methodology used years ago.

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