The Social Media Overkill!

I don’t know how many more times I can answer the same question from people. It usually goes something like this;

Social media wannabe: “Hey, are you on Pinterest yet?”

Me: “No! go away!”

I know this sounds harsh, but it’s simply a fair representation of the conversations I’ve been having too much recently. I think it was less than a week after Pinterest became “mainstream” when the questions were being asked about why I (or my company) weren’t on the platform yet. As if we’re missing out big time. We’re losing the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s now or never!!!!!

I love reading when the media picks up on brands embracing new platforms. It’s like the holy grail. Media love stuff like that, because it’s new, different & embraces the early adopter. I, on the other hand am overly sceptical. Just because there’s a new platform with an IPO valuation of $500 Trillion doesn’t always mean brands should flock. I’d be so interested to see the marketing plans/ rationale/ objectives/success metrics written down from any brand that have recently started using Pinterest. I’d seriously pay good money for that. I mean, do they even have any detailed audience analysis which brands can use for planning? I’m a huge advocate for trying out new things within social, be it through platforms/ tools/ techniques etc, but for me, there has to be some thinking going on before starting anything.

I recently read this from Mashable which is a brief look at 9 hot new social platforms that are emerging. It’s not surprising that many on the list are iterations of things we already have, but does this mean we need to have a presence on all of them? I’d argue no. I love how social is evolving & changing the communication landscape, but at the same time I’m worried about how marketers are going about embracing them. It comes back to that saying which occurred around 3 years ago, which usually came from the CEO/ MD of any brand…. “We need a Facebook page”. There was little reasoning or methodology, but they knew that Facebook was where everyone was heading so it made sense to set-up shop there.

I’m actually starting to fall more & more out of love with Facebook for various reasons. I know a lot of brands have embraced the new Timeline feature. I think it’s awful. I genuinely think it’s bearable for users, but for brands it makes no sense. I loved the old layout for pages. Clean, accessible, nice user experience etc. What they’ve created now is simply not good enough. I might be alone in this thought, but it’s how I feel as someone looking after social marketing for a brand.

If we’re not careful, we will ruin the opportunity to authentically engage with users through social interaction. If we’re too obsessed with the next big platform, but can’t get right what’s in front of us now… what hope do we have? I’m still waiting for someone to hand me the key to unlock the “measuring social media” safe. Many are trying, but most are failing. Let’s take a step back. Think about what we’re doing & re-focus. We don’t have 24 hours left to live, so we can take some time to re-appraise this.

Social is still new to most brands & users & very few are still getting it right but let’s not all flock to the next “big thing” just because Silicon Valley says so. Embrace change, but with caution!


  • Stephen Uprichard

    Great article…personally I won’t be joining Pinterest for the simple reason that I do not have time to spend on every social network under the sun. There are hundreds of different platforms, spaces, apps and analytic tools that are out there for brands and people to use but you are 100% spot on with regard to “ooh that’s new, let’s jump on board!” syndrome. The other aspect is that a lot of large brands are driven by their Social Media agencies/in house “Gurus”. The difficulty lies with these self proclaimed “Social Media Experts” or “Gurus” the real experts look at the picture and apply what is actually necessary and beneficial to a brand to say that one size fits all and go and do it because everyone else is doing it is blind advice which even a 5 year old could give. The space of Social Media is still new and fresh and like you said “Embrace change, but with caution” is very true and to add a little bit to that, look what tech is out there and always pose the question when looking at entering new waters – “What is it going to do for me and what is the knock on effect” both internally (Most importantly resource wise – platforms may be free, but managing them isn’t, and if not managed properly you run into your puppy syndrome, it dies if it’s not looked after!) and externally – have you got the brand magnetism to warrant people following you or are you simply creating another bath tub where you can splash about in make a load of noise and pull the plug out and watch your money and time spin down the plug hole! Again, like your article explains embrace new platforms/tech with an openness but ensure that the solutions are right for you which goes back to the simplest saying “Would you jump off a cliff if they told you to?” – THINK!

  • Peter McCormack

    Unfortunately you are in a minority as the rapid growth of these networks is evidence that there is a demand…and there will be more so get used to it :)