When Did Social Networking Stop Being A Thing?
Way back in 2009 we decided as a company to embrace social media as another avenue in our marketing arsenal. I am in no way advocating that Dolphin were one of the first, but we were a relatively early adopter of this form of creative brand awareness and went on to train and manage other businesses social media campaigns (and still do).
In 2009, there were a lot of sceptics – most small businesses weren’t using social media. Among some of the most vociferous opponents were, strangely enough, those in marketing and sales who saw this as a fad.
Eight years on and we’re now at the stage where most businesses are on social media. Whether they see the benefits or not is another question – but they know that they need an online presence because, well, all of their competitors are doing it.
Just because you’re “doing it”, because “yep, we have a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram account” doesn’t necessarily translate into you're “doing it” right.
The term social media marketing is known across the board – indeed, we’ve pushed this forward to be embraced by the even wider marketing umbrella of digital marketing. Yet “social networking” has all but disappeared. I can only surmise that social networking doesn’t sound as grown up, professional and business like as social media marketing, or perhaps there is something else that I have missed.
Social networking should still have a leading place in the world of online marketing.
As “networking” has been ousted by “marketing” too many companies have assumed that social platforms are places that they should be shouting at the top of their lungs about how brilliant their services/products are and to sell, sell, sell.
Whilst the word “social” hasn’t been replaced, it has become a little lost. Social media platforms are wonderful places to engage, converse and listen. Yes, yes, yes, this does all take time – even more of your precious time – but this was the argument most commonly thrown out there by businesses reluctant to go online in the first place.
Rather than seeing it as a chore, see it as a gold mine of invaluable data – what are your competitors broadcasting? What are your customers doing? What are your potential clients talking about? Are you engaging with the people you are connected with online or brushing past them as if they don’t exist?
Has social networking had its day? As a phrase yes – but as an ideal practice in your overall digital marketing plan it needs to be brought back to centre stage.