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Social media in 2010

December 29, 2009

If 2009 was the year of social media, then 2010 won’t be.

In 2009, there seemed to be a million different social media conferences all based on the idea of teaching social media.

But there was a need. In marketing, we don’t have to teach someone how a billboard works before we pitch it. People inherently understand the value of a billboard, a print ad, a piece of direct mail, etc.

Not so with Social Media. Especially when people post the opinion that Twitter (or Facebook, or podcasts) are changing the face of marketing, and that everyone needs to be on Twitter or be left behind.

It was this dire warning that created the demand for knowledge that was met by the millions of conferences/lunches/presentations on Social Media. I did my fair share.

These courses (how to’s) were, and are still necessary. Even if they simply calm the direness of the “you have to get into social media or be dead” warnings that come from many angles.

Which brings us to 2010.

One could argue that social media is mainstream. There is no longer a need to explain Facebook or Twitter (though there still might be a need to explain why people use it). We’re somewhat comfortable with it as a tactic, though not entirely sure who to use it. It’s on the radar.

Meaning, this should be the year that Strategy wins of over Tactic.

Instead of just starting a Facebook page or a Twitter feed or sticking a video on YouTube, we’ll craft a strategy whereby these tools fit into the marketing plan (or don’t when it doesn’t fit the objectives).

That’s the plan anyway. But one needs to simply look at the Internet to see that it might not happen. Think back to the first web bubble. It peaked when the NASDAQ did in the early part of the this decade, March 10, 2000. On that day, the euphoria of the web was at its highest. One could see it on the NASDAQ, but also in the halls of marketing departments.

We want a website, markers said. If agencies didn’t have a website solution in the marketing strategy, clients didn’t want to see it. It wasn’t a serious plan if it didn’t have a website.

As the decade ends, one would think that the web 1.0 way of building a website for the sake of building a website was antiquated thinking.

But it isn’t. In a generalized way, websites are still tactics, and not part of an overall marketing strategy. So what makes anyone think social media will be different?

So here’s what I think will happen. There will be lots of talk about strategies on social media. Seeing as how I’m a social media strategist, I hope to have many of them. But they will be drowned out by the next thing in 2010.

2010 will be the official Mobile Coming Out Party. If strategies don’t have “Mobile” solutions, they won’t be allowed at the table. So a mobile tactic will be inserted, whether right or wrong.

The website will be ignored. The social media ‘tactics’ written off as yesterday’s fad or executed because they are free, not because the tactic fits the strategy.

Just an opinion. I hope I’m wrong.

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