Gini Dietrich

Is Social Media Dying?

By: Gini Dietrich | June 22, 2010 | 

Guest blog by Patrick Reyes, the digital strategy and analysis manager for Buick and GMC.

I recently read a blog post from Justin Kistner (through SocialFresh) where he theorizes that “social media” will reach its peak by 2012. If social media is dying how can organizations set themselves up for success in this continuously growing and evolving area?

We’ve all read blogs or articles that say “90 percent of social media is just showing up” and we likely know that success in this space can only happen if leadership embraces the strategy and is willing to invest in it. A good friend of mine, Bryan Willmert, gives an example in a post where references Ford is investing 25 percent of its marketing budget in the social web.

He also gives five thoughts on how companies can embrace the social web:

  1. Allocate budget to hire a “Social Media Guru”.
  2. Find the right person for the job (leverage social tools such as LinkedIn or Twitter to find that person).
  3. Work one-on-one with your “Social Media Guru” so they know how to market you (no one knows your business better than you do).
  4. Let them run with it and teach you along the way so you understand where your investment is going and what is coming back.
  5. Keep an open mind and don’t hang on to the ways that you always have done things.

In my perfect world, I’d structure the organization to have a Community Manager who manages a department responsible for the social web and new technologies. (Note: I’m coming from the perspective of a large corporation and this may not apply to smaller companies.)

The people in this role have a working and personal knowledge of how to leverage tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, and CitizenTube for business growth. They use the tools daily and have first-hand experience. They become a knowledge center for the company to educate other departments (c-suite, sales, marketing, customer service, HR, advertising, and PR) on how to best leverage for their area of expertise.

I’ve seen too many examples of companies that “sort of” jump in, because of the pact mentality, and add “social media” to someone’s already full plate.

Now…will this organization exist in 2012 where Kistner’s theory says social media will reach its peak? It may not in its proposed form. The social web, Web 2.0, or “new media” will continue to evolve, but it will be part of how companies are run, no matter what it’s called.

Are you and your organization prepared to evolve with this shift in how we get our information and communicate? Or will you just “sort of” get it?

Patrick is a marketing professional who is looking for ways to break the status quo of traditional “spray and pray” advertising and infuse it with the power of the social web and building relationships. More importantly, he is a devoted husband, proud father of four, and passionate Detroit sports fan and Michigan State University alum.

Editors note: GO BEARS!!

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Great post patrick… and the editors notes are incredible!!!!!

  • I agree with Bryan – great post. Seems to me that social media is working so well right now because it facilitates personal connections that weren’t possible before. I think the big question for 2012 and beyond is this: How can businesses make those personal connections in new ways when the popularity of current methods inevitably wane?

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  • Nice post, Patrick! You’ve hit on something even more compelling than social media dying. The agency is dying. At least the one we’re all used to. There are firms that are evolving, but there are still many that create a Facebook Page and think they’re on board the revolution. It goes so much deeper than that, and your post does a great job of showing that new ideas are needed.

  • First, thanks to Gini for giving me the stage on Spin Sucks! I’m very appreciative!

    Michelle, I think everyone (both agency and client) need to be educated. From my experiences, clients can be responsible for “social media” but not have any participation. How do you effectively support a strategy when there isn’t any experience using the tools in place?

    Like I said above, the social web isn’t dying, it’s evolving.

  • I forgot…the one thing I disagree with is the Editor’s Note. LOL!

  • You lost me at “guru.” I agree that hiring a person who is knowledgeable about social media to make things happen is necessary. Plus it must be someone who is prepared to evolve with social media. But I think if you go look for a “guru” “expert” or any of the other terms being bandied about, you’re likely to end up with an egomaniac who listens to him/herself more than he/she listens to what’s going on “out there.” The important thing is to find someone who is actively and genuinely engaged in social media and with the community (on and offline) that you’re trying to reach for your brand.

  • Gini Dietrich

    I think the editor’s note is quite brilliant. I mean, you can’t write a bio for MY blog about being a Detroit sports fan (who, really, is a Detroit sports fan, anyway?). And I agree with Jen about the “guru” piece…the thing that social media has done is made celebrities out of normal people, which is great for some and not so great for those who can’t handle their own egos.

  • Thanks for this post, Patrick. While I don’t think social media is dying, I do think it’s in a constant state of flux. New platforms, ideas, practices, habits, etc. are evolving every day. And that’s why it’s important for businesses not to underestimate the importance of having someone within their company who will make it a priority to keep up with it all. As the r/evolution continues, those who fall behind will find it very difficult to catch back up once they realize what they’re missing.

  • Is there some type of pattern here where the majority of commenters favor the NFC Norse division? GO PACKERS!

    I agree that the word dying needs to be replaced with the term evolving. As it evolves, I believe that the measurement tools will also evolve so that we can begin to make better business decisions, and so we can also better rationalize the resource expenditures on social media. Thereby increasing the buying by C level decision makers.

  • It certainly feels like we are facing another bubble, of sorts. There are only so many topics that be blogged and tweeted about until we just start repeating ourselves, over and over and over…. again. Now it seems like blog posts are remakes of old blog posts or posts that summarize and categorize prior posts. My guess is that it will eventually be back to basics and that the only people that really benefit, marketing-wise, will be those who were in the game first. See my related post, “Is Social Media a Ponzi Scheme?”

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  • There is a lot of repetition but within that there can be clarification. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is thinking that because they know how to post a tweet or update their status that they are now qualified to manage their social media marketing campaign. Your suggestion of hiring a social media guru is invaluable. Spend the money. It will be worth the investment.

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