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The Fall and Rise of Social Media

Well that didn’t take long. 2013, and it seems the social media backlash is already underway in earnest.

As long ago as January, B2B Marketing magazine’s IT Marketing Benchmarking report suggested something was up. The statistics showed a growing number of marketers falling out of love with social.

More recently, last week’s hottest B2B blog post? “Social media is dead”.

OK, so the post itself went on to argue another point – that it’s only really lazy marketing that’s on the way out – but nonetheless, that’s the blog title that attracted the eyes, that got people talking. There’s a change of mood in the market.

Social media, it seems, is well and truly out.

And its crime?

Scandalously, it appears that social media – and I’ll whisper it quietly – might not actually be magic.

For a while, you see, many marketers seemed to think that social media was going to sell enterprise-level IT solutions, by the bucketload. All by itself. It was the only tool you needed. The only game in town. The mythical silver bullet and the Holy Grail, all rolled into one.

And now those same people are waking up to find they still need sales, and their other marketing skills. They feel a bit let down. 

But the reality is, with so many social media tools and platforms available, some are more effective – or simply more suited to certain jobs – than others. And social media works best when it’s integrated with other channels, methods and techniques.

In other words, it’s just like any other marketing medium.

Hopefully, this fall from grace will end up being a good thing. Now social media has come down from its pedestal, more people might start using it the right way – as another useful part of their marketing toolkit. Measuring real outcomes, not headline-grabbing outputs. Looking for actual business returns.

After all, every marketing objective is different, and needs to be looked at individually to get the best results.

The real benefits of marketing come from choosing the best media for the job, integrating them to deliver the right message to the right audience, and watching the impact on metrics that really matter.

In the long term, the end of this bubble could just be the start for social media – because, as a channel for amplifying content, spreading reputation and building rapport, it has a great deal to give.

OK, so social media’s not a magic bullet. It’s still a pretty handy weapon to keep in the armoury.