Social media websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus are one of the most amazing phenomena to hit the World Wide Web. Beginning with Sixdegrees.com, the first website to combine the creation of profiles, the building of friend lists, and the ability to surf those lists on your profile or the profiles of others, the idea then snowballed into the social media landscape we are so addicted to today.
Social media has also become the inspiration for the massive movement we have today. Millions upon millions of people have flocked to social media in order to get in on the movement, share their opinions, and make their presence known to the world.
The Dominance Of Advertising In Social Media
Facebook acquired over 1 billion active users by October of 2012. Yet, for the first 8 years of its existence, companies and corporations struggled to get a line on how to use Facebook (or almost any social media) effectively for advertising purposes.
Until recently, it was a big mystery, even with the website itself providing help in the way of company pages. Now that the problem has been largely solved, is social media in danger of losing some of its lusters? Many users fear the worst, believing that advertisers are going to take over, as they did with Myspace several years ago.
Advertisers may become more predominant, with bigger and more complex advertising tactics. Companies, corporations, and non-profits, who were willing to cater to everyone may start singling out groups for targeting. Also, there are very few new ideas or concepts coming from up and coming social sites that copy website strategies from Facebook and other popular social sites.
Social Media Advertising Tactics
One of the most attractive aspects of social media for advertisers is the use of free marketing tools. These tools collectively save them millions of dollars a year and are very effective at reaching users. If you post an interesting infographic that plays to popular culture, all you have to do is sit back while the users of social media share it with others, creating a waterfall of exposure.
What more could an advertiser ask for? How about a Facebook page with all the trimmings? A Twitter account is an open forum for advertisers that speak out on any hot topic and follows the popular trends. Social media is, in effect, the advertiser’s paradise, reaching more people with less effort and far less expenditure than any other media.
Social Media Groups
Social media members that form groups are singling themselves out for specialized advertising paid for by the money saved by the social network. Groups that cater to animal lovers attract dog food and pet medical supply companies and the like pay for ads to be posted on those groups.
They also place advertising media content specialists in these groups to pose and post as one of them. Without being too obvious, these popular posters lead other users in whichever direction they wish. They talk about the products but also post what would be deemed “regular content” that attracts followers. This kind of media blitz that attacks from all sides is hard to resist and most users never even know what hit them.
Posting Popular News With Unrelated Links
Videos that speak on one topic and then end in an ad are also creeping into popular groups like survivalists and preppers. They do not realize that they are actually following an ad link to a video about the survival topic.
Often, it is a feeling of loyalty to the group’s topic that prevents complaints. Advertisers know this and take advantage of it. A good example of this is the eCommerce blogger that posts on social media with a link to a topic page that, while on topic, has an overwhelming number of links to its ads and products.
We Need A New Hero Or Two
For a period of about ten years or so, we’ve had a flurry of new social media websites pop up making the internet an exciting and adventurous place to be. Unfortunately, with the welcomed exception of Pinterest and a few others, most of the newer social media websites are clones of the ones that already exist.
Now that WordPress has introduced forum-building software, just about anyone can and has built their own little slice of social heaven that they and their friends share. This is great if you are part of an existing group, and many companies are providing this service for their loyal customers as well.
Has social media lost its luster? Not yet, however, if it does not continue to come up with new and exciting ways to keep users happy and interested, the danger does exist. This is especially true if advertisers gain any more of a foothold than they already have.