As soon as consumers started flocking to social media, marketers began to see its potential as a marketing channel. And why not? It doesn’t cost much, and happy customers can do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to promotion and testimonials. This is why many marketers are putting even more money into their social media strategies going forward.
So are they wrong? Is social media marketing a fad?
Not at all. Just like those who thought that the Internet itself was just a temporary source of entertainment, social media marketing detractors are missing the full picture.
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Why some people think social media marketing is a fad
Before we can definitively say that social media marketing is here to stay, it’s important to understand why some people think its value is fleeting. Here are some of the most common arguments:
Consumers could get bored with it
One of the biggest advantages of marketing on social networks is that consumers tend to be more receptive of it. Unlike traditional methods, which tend to be ignored, satisfied customers are often happy to like pages and leave positive comments.
But what’s to say that consumers won’t eventually have the same reaction to marketing messages on social media? When traditional methods first came out, consumers were much more receptive to them. This leads some people to believe that consumers will get tired of social media marketing and ignore it, just like they do traditional methods.
Networks lose popularity
In 2005, everyone who was anyone had a Myspace account. Now, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who’s visited the site in the past five years. So what’s to say that the social networks that are popular now, like Facebook and Twitter, won’t go the same way?
If that happens, social media marketers will have a lot of work to do. Thanks to various formats and audiences, strategies for the platforms are not one-size-fits-all. If the current networks lose popularity, they’ll have to create entirely new methods.
It’s hard to measure
Social media marketing takes a lot of time and energy, but it can be difficult to tell whether or not the effort is worth it. Unlike other types of Internet marketing, which offer detailed analytics, it’s tough to say how effective social strategies are.
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Although it’s easy to see metrics like likes, shares, and comments, those don’t mean much to marketers who are focused on revenue. They certainly show brand awareness and engagement, but it’s difficult to say for sure whether or not that translates into sales. For one thing, the jury is still out on whether social media marketing actually generates revenue.
Why social media marketing is here to stay
There are certainly valid reasons to doubt social media’s staying power—its newness could wear off, platforms could lose popularity with users, and it’s tough for marketers to tell if it’s even working in the first place. But despite all of those things, there’s plenty of reason to believe that social is here to stay.
Let’s start with a few basic statistics:
- There are 2 billion active social media accounts around the world, up 12 percent from a year ago.
- The average social media user spends close to 2.5 hours a day on these networks.
- Social media marketing in the U.S. generated $8.3 billion in 2014
It’s clear that social media is still on the rise, and that advertising with it can be profitable. Still not convinced? Here are a few more reasons social media marketing isn’t going anywhere:
Demographics are expanding
Some people seem to think that social media users are all young, and that other demographics don’t use it. This is incorrect. Roughly 22% of all users are over the age of 55, and seniors 65 and over are the fastest-growing demographic. No matter your key demographic, they’re probably on social media and receptive to your messages.
Top marketers are increasing their presence
In a study conducted by MarketingProfs, 70% of marketers said they planned to increase their budgets for social media marketing and advertising in 2015. More than two-thirds of those same respondents said social media was helping them reach their financial or other business goals. These kinds of numbers don’t point to a marketing channel that’s on the decline.
Advertising options are improving
The social sites themselves are finding a way to make revenue generation easier. Social media has historically been the first step in a sales transaction, delivering a message and a link to a landing page or order form. The user clicked the link and then made the transaction.
It may soon be possible to buy directly from social media and save a step. Twitter and Facebook are already testing “buy” buttons on their sites. If they move forward, marketers could see a more direct impact on their ROI, making social media even more essential.
The social media landscape might remain steady over the next 20 years, continually attracting new users and generating more revenue for the businesses that use it to promote their offers. Or it could look completely different.
Either way, social channels are here to stay. People love using the Internet to interact with one another, and even if the specific platforms they use to do so change, marketers can learn to adapt their strategies.
If your business isn’t on social media yet, there’s no better time to start using it than now. And if you need some help creating a strategy and maintaining your social presence, feel free to contact us. Our dedicated social team is more than happy to assist you.