There's a lot of talk in marketing circles about social media. The main reason for this is a) an absence of anything else to talk about that is isn't really fucking boring, and b) it makes you sound a bit cool and less tedious that you usually do.
But do you, my fellow marketing professionals, really understand the true potential of social media? Are you fully aware of what it can do for your brand? Have you managed to get your noggin around how much it can deliver to your bottom line in the short, medium, long, very long and too long-terms?
Well, I recently enjoyed a lunch with 3 very bright young social media gurus called Jasper, Tom and CC. It was a long lunch, and it involved some serious cementing, but I can remember the first 20 minutes, so I know my shit.
1. Social media has killed TV.
The chaps made this pretty clear. NOBODY watches TV now. Nobody. It's dead. If we want to watch something, we go on YouTube and watch it for free, minus the ads. Now, you may think you watch TV (and, to be honest, I think I do too) but you don't. Because TV is fucking dead, sucker - so buy it some flowers and move on. The 19.7 million people who watched the X-Factor final? THEY WEREN'T WATCHING, YOU FOOL! THEY HAD THE TV ON BUT THEY WERE ON FACEBOOK DISCUSSING HOW THEY WEREN'T WATCHING IT!
2. Social media has killed advertising.
This was high on their list too. You see, because social media is the only medium to which we're exposed, advertisers have nowhere to advertise. TV? Dead. Radio? Dead. Papers? Dead. Mags? Dead. Outdoor? Who's looking at it? WE'RE ALL TWEETING! In other words, the world has gone completely apeshit, everything has changed and there is literally a communications revolution happening NOW. Look out of the window and you will see it. (Jasper pointed out of the window when he said this. It was very dramatic. I'd have looked too, but I had a pint on.)
3. Social media is the only way to market anything, from this point on, full stop, and if you disagree then you're a luddite in a blindfold made of old hat and your business has exactly 48 hours to live.
Er...explains itself, that one.
4. It's about conversations, not conversions.
You can't just stick advertising messages through social media, stupid! You can't say 'Come and buy my doodah coz it's ace'! Are you fucking mental? You encourage conversations across social media platforms which lead to brand awareness, trust and, at some point in the future, maybe a sale. But don't count on it! Remember that consumers hate you, your brand and your horrid bullshit marketing. You need to gain their trust through conversations. Maybe start by asking them how they're feeling today.
5. Everything in the future will be FREE.
Now that the web has made everything free (you just download it - books, cars, pillows, tampons) you can't charge for products. Instead, you have to give it away for free, then encourage consumers to shell out for added value. Like a widget that sits on your desktop and tells you when Madonna has tweeted, or a Facebook app that gives all your photos a pretty border. Jasper, Tom and CC can sell you these added value items, plus a social media strategy - and all for one bollock-shatteringly massive cost. But so what - you won't need to spend another penny on media because it's all DEAD.
So, there you have it. It's a fucking eye-opener, isn't it? Think hard about that over your cornflakes. Are you going to be the one left at the station when the social media train is pulling away to Success Town and you're left there in a desolate wasteland of broken TVs and old people?
I'm not. I'm going to be driving the fucking train. And I'll hop on, just as soon as I've signed off these TV ads, this press campaign and all this outdoor.
Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!