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This video by Erik Qualman of Search Engine Watch presents statistics that are so alluring that it must leave the viewer wondering why some even consider social media to be a fad.
It is certainly not the social media companies themselves, media companies or agencies that are leading people down this social garden path. Actually it’s people’s thirst for information, friends, acceptance etc (and a plethora of other sociological and anthropological aspects) that is resulting in people driving down more like a seven lane superhighway at breakneck speed resulting in these unprecedented engagement levels.
And when you are driving down a motorway and see a lorry parked side on in an adjoining field with a large ad on the side, do you remember the URL or phone number on the ad when you arrive at your destination? (If you’ve written it down whilst driving – shame on you!)
Yes, you nearly crash into the car in front of you trying to read the ad or slowed down so much that the motorcyclist behind you is now headbutting your number plate, but that’s just it. You read it and it’s gone. No hook, no memory. It’s a bit like an ad on the London Underground using an SMS number as the call to action.
Some of the facts presented in the video are so colossal that it has got everyone scratching their heads in bewilderment. It tempts companies and marketers to conjure traditional questions such as:
How do we hook these users in?
How are we going to make money from them?
What’s it worth?
From my perspective however, these questions are totally missing the point and currently demonstrate a lack of understanding and empathy of what these users are demanding.
They demand speed.
They demand choice.
They demand engagement on their terms.
They choose when anything happens.
They demand free content.
However there is no one size fits all solution here. As with all user groups, understanding the demographics of the target audience will define the answers to questions such as:
What is important to the user, what do they want?
How do we actively engage these users?
How do we tempt them?
Why do they need us?
So, slice and dice your data and understand your target audience better. Yes it would be great to target all 300m users of LatestSocialMediaFadSite.com but it’s not realistic as not all of them want what you’ve got.
And understand the user purchasing journey for these demographics, as you will find that social media hooks will create a longer lag time to purchase than some other channels.
So if you give the user what they want when they want it and engage them in the right way, the money will follow. And this is where another revolution needs to occur. The present landscape demands that companies and marketers address and engage their audience in an entirely different and new way. We have gone from the industrial to the digital revolution. Now, all hail the social revolution.