Warning: The hype surrounding social media marketing is about to peak. And you should all begin preparing for the backlash. Headlines will soon turn from “The Marvels of Social Media” to “Blogging Fails to Deliver Results.”
Why do I think this? Because every new technology goes through a hype cycle. One day it’s being over-hyped and the next it’s underestimated — and back again. And social media is no exception.
Back around 2006, the marketing world was abuzz about blogs. The chatter was unrelenting. Yet as time went on, people slowly lost interest. Why? Because it turned out that blogging isn’t a silver bullet for marketing. Like all effective marketing, blogging requires hard work and perseverance in order to achieve success. Blogging couldn’t live up to the extreme hype. So hype led to backlash.
Yet, blogging has lots of value. So, some people ignored the backlash, continued blogging, and built solid businesses, thanks in part to blogging. And now blogging has reemerged for a second round of hype. This time it is packaged as “social media” along with Twitter and LinkedIn and such. And the hype is bigger than ever. It’s pretty clear that we’re setting ourselves up for another, even bigger, backlash.
So here’s my point: Social media tools are very powerful. However, they’re not marketing magic. They’re just a high-tech spin on old, time-tested marketing tactics — thought leadership and personal networking. The spoils will go to those who recognize this truth and ignore the hype (and the coming backlash).