Is it the beginning of the end for social media?
It’s fair to say that Facebook has had a pretty tough time recently. First there was the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, of which the social media giant is only just starting to see the financial ramifications. Then pub chain J D Wetherspoon announced its withdrawal from all social media accounts, with chairman Tim Martin stating: “It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion.”
And, just in the last week, there has been more bad news for the big technology firms with consumer campaigner Martin Lewis launching UK High Court proceedings against Facebook for alleged fake adverts and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt hinting at introducing new laws to protect children online and limit their exposure to social media, citing “exclusion from social interaction that often the majority of their peers are engaging in.”
So what does this mean for social media? Does it mean anything at all? While Tim Martin was vocal in his belief that social media is not a necessary aspect of business strategy, saying “We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business,” not all businesses will agree. But for many organisations who have viewed the likes of Twitter and Facebook as ‘necessary evils’ rather than positively adding to brand awareness and indeed business performance, this latest run of events is likely to raise questions internally.
In the vast majority of cases, our B2B clients’ social media strategies focus on Twitter and LinkedIn; Twitter for its positive impact on Google rankings and LinkedIn for the channel’s ability to directly reach potential prospects, customers and indeed employees. And this is the key: it’s about having a strategy; understanding what you’re looking to achieve from your social media activity; and then having the content to support that strategy.
This is why having your PR aligned to your sales efforts; to your marketing campaigns; and integrated with social media is so important. You want to make sure that the content you’re producing as part of your PR campaign can be, and is, replicated across the business for consistency of voice and maximum impact.
Social media, like PR, is not something you can do half-heartedly.
So are we going to see a step change in businesses’ social media adoption – or indeed, rejection?
Certainly, with GDPR around the corner and consumers likely to invoke their “right to be forgotten”, it’s to be expected that the coming months will raise more questions than get answered, with particular emphasis on the ethical use of social media and personal data.
Let the debate continue – preferably over a pint…
What do you think? Is social media on it’s way out or is it going to hang around for a bit longer? Let us know your thoughts! @NeoPRLtd