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.

  1. They demand speed.

  2. They demand choice.

  3. They demand engagement on their
    terms.

  4. They choose when anything happens.

  5. 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:

  1. What is important to the user, what
    do they want?

  2. How do we actively engage these
    users?

  3. How do we tempt them?

  4. 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.