Last Updated on October 7, 2021
We are lost in an endless forest of information, and no one seems to have a map.
Since the Internet (and to a lesser extent, mobile technology) has taken over our day-to-day lives, we’ve found ourselves living in a society which bombards us with data from every angle and at every hour of the day. To say that it’s exhausting would be putting it lightly. It’s rather easy for a consumer to get overwhelmed, to say nothing of someone who needs to work in such a chaotic mass of free-flowing data on a regular basis.
One of the ways in which this trend towards information overload has manifested is in the sheer volume of social networks that have begun to crop up. It seems that every other day, we’re seeing new platforms popping up like mushrooms; we’re constantly seeing blogs and tech journalists trumpeting the “site that could kill Facebook” (news flash: that’s not happening anytime soon). It’s all anyone can do to keep up.
Understandably, this can make the decision of which social network to establish a brand on a rather difficult one, particularly if your consumers are spread out over several different platforms. The fragmented environment that currently seems to underscore social media effectively ensures that no matter where you decide to market, you might miss out on a few potential sales. Factoring in that you have a whole array of different physical platforms as well—computers, smartphones, tablets, and game consoles—only further muddies the waters.
For some, the solution to this quandary is simple. Just go with Facebook, and you can’t go wrong; maybe with a news feed on Twitter for good measure. It’s not the biggest social network in the world for nothing, right? Unfortunately—as is often the case with social media—it’s rarely that simple.
I’d go so far as to say that approaching social marketing with the intent of broadcasting exclusively on one network and platform is—if not impossible—extremely ill advised.
Even if you’re planning on only running things over Facebook, for example, you’re still going to need to consider other platforms and networks. It’s the world’s largest social network, true; and most likely your demographic can be found there. At the same time, however, it’s also closely integrated with a wide array of different sharing sites and other social media, such as Twitter and YouTube. Failing to at least consider either of these sites could well be a recipe for disaster.
Far more important, however, is consideration of the multiple platforms on which social networks are accessed. What I’m referring to here is mobile technology. I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz by now: smartphones and tablets are taking over the world of consumer electronics. For once, those rumblings aren’t pure hyperbole, as of last year, more users now access Facebook via their smartphones than any other device. In this regard, a multi-platform approach—that is, one in which both mobile and PC are accounted for—is absolutely vital.
Not only that, there’s integration with more traditional forms of advertising. The Old Spice Guy campaign was a masterful example of this; it spanned YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, cable TV, and even print media such as newspapers and magazines. One might not expect such a shotgun approach to marketing to work…but it did. Incredibly so. To be fair, this was as much due to the creativity and wit of those designing the campaign as it was the massive degree of exposure it received. Even so, there’s definitely a strong case for having a broad focus, if your brand is up to it.
We’re lost in a forest of endless information, and no one seems to have a map. Marketers waffle about while trying to decide which networks to choose and which platforms to stand beside; those few who do find one to focus on to the exclusion of all else quickly find themselves isolated. Perhaps the trick here, then, is that there is no map, and that there’s no one path to take. Rather, it may be that true success in marketing online—particularly with social media—is tied to tossing aside the notion of maps and paths and taking in the trees.
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Dressed to impress, immensely popular, and markedly more simplistic than what they describe; buzzwords have been around for nearly as long as advertising and marketing.