Social Media is Not THAT Cool, So Everybody Cool Out

I found this article on Bad Pitch this morning and saved it all day because I feel strongly about its message: social media is awesome, but it’s not THAT awesome, so everyone should just tone things down a notch.

The article is about why people should cool their jets about Google+, especially marketers, because it hasn’t proven itself yet; if anything, it’s only proven that it has nowhere near the addictive quality that Facebook has – just think about how your mom can’t live without it, even though she did for 50 years. But Bad Pitch argues that even Facebook isn’t completely delivering on its promise of engagement and loyalty:

…Pages aren’t as beneficial as many expect them to be.

According to a recent study by Constant Contact and researchers Chadwick Martin Bailey, only 17 percent of respondents interact with brands on Facebook. … Turns out that Facebook brand pages are about brand awareness rather than engagement. Almost three-quarters surveyed said their interactions with brands on FaceBook came through reading statuses or updates from the brand.

The author’s bottom line is that social media tools like these are still so new, their use is still evolving and most people aren’t using them in the way social media gurus have promised. Engaging with brands is work – people are more interested in engaging with friends and family instead.

So what does a marketer do with articles like Duct Tape Marketing’s How and Why to Use Pinterest for Business, which says “It’s time for businesses to take note and start paying attention to Pinterest.”?

Ignore it.

Unless your customers are ALREADY USING Pinterest, maybe even starting to ask why you aren’t using it, don’t bother. Just because there is a cool social tool out there that someone has figured out can be used for a business like yours, doesn’t mean it would be at all useful for you.

The promise of social media is to bring customers and companies closer together in a positive way, not for companies to have a new channel for harassing customers or new marketing schemes to sink money and time into.

So who benefits the most from social media? The same people I’ve said before do: local companies looking to reach their neighbors and customers quickly and easily. But also companies who take advantage of behaviors people are already doing socially online instead of asking them to debate which of their products they like best or “engage” in some other way. HBR covered this here. Of their predictions, I’d choose Social Sharing and Social Television as the biggest trends to come because they are easy, in the first example, and fun, in the second example (if you are also a fan of The Walking Dead on AMC or Bones on Fox, @message me on Twitter at Sunday and Thursday nights respectively!)