One Day You’re In, the Next Day You’re Out?

Is facebook over?

Written by Kim Chapman, Account Executive

I recently read an article about college students who when asked about social media, some wondered if it is here to stay. The headline posed the question: Is Social Media a Fad?

From the perspective of people who use social media strictly for non-business purposes, it’s obvious to me that it is not (a fad.) Social media started as, and still revolves around, engaging, interacting and sharing with other people. These are actions that we as human beings desire and could not live easily without. So whether most people know it, social media is engrained in our nature.

From a marketing perspective, social media has real value. A study by Michael Stelzner, social media examiner, showed that the largest perceived benefit of social media, as expressed by 81% of study participants, is business exposure. Next comes increased traffic or conversion rates, expressed by 60%. Rise in search engine rankings were expressed by 52%.

On a traditional company website, a brand can communicate with a customer, but with Facebook or Twitter, for instance, a customer can interact with the brand, as well as with other customers in the brand’s network. This allows the company to garner better feedback.

In direct marketing, companies can use social media to promote a specific offer or communicate a certain call to action to their customers, then see the message spread like wildfire when people share the offer with their friends/followers. This can be especially effective when used in conjunction with traditional direct mail. With the help of a marketing agency, N’Tini’s New Orleans Steak & Martinis sent out about 6,700 postcards to customers within a 3-mile radius of their restaurant. The postcard instructed them to go to a URL in order to obtain the offer. Once there, they were given the opportunity to share a link to the offer with friends through email and over 300 social media networks. The effect? Over 450 people, or 6%, went to the URL and shared the offer. That’s a very high response rate for this type of call to action. But the coolest part is that the initial sharing resulted in an additional 2,469 visits to the URL. Of the approximately 450 people who initially shared the offer, 333 of them used either Facebook, Twitter, or email.

And this brings me to another headline I saw recently: Is Facebook a Passing Fad? Nearly Half of Americans Think So. (This was according to a 2012 study conducted by the Associated Press and CNBC.) At first glance, I thought to myself, “Wow, people really DO think social media is a fad.” But as I started to read the article, something different became clear. About 46% of people think that “Facebook will fade away as new platforms come along in the future.”

While I see no end in sight for “facebooking” or tweeting any time soon, these phenomena may eventually evolve into something else down the road. In other words, we will continue to interact with media in a social way. And marketers should be there, every step of the way.