Social Networking: Going Beyond the Trend
Today’s ‘have to have it’ flavor of the day in the marketing and advertising industry is the need for a social networking strategy.
With the proliferation of sites like Facebook and MySpace and the creation of methods and philosophies to strip the bones clean of all the information therein, it appears that all that is lacking to complete this cycle of the next big thing (after User Generated Content) is a short, but sweet, acronym a la UGC, of course.
But kidding aside, one need only to look at who is actually using these social networking sites to realize how deep the impact may run. Obviously there are high school and college kids, but the users go on to include their parents, teachers and the business community. While these communities have come to encompass nearly all of us, perhaps we have too quickly developed a case of social tunnel vision.
These social platforms gained their popularity because they were sites of the people; often very smart, observant people. The masses have noticed these networks being taken over pixel by pixel by ad space and drop-downs and they are being vocal in their disapproval.
The social networking phenomena popped up rather suddenly and, if marketers and advertisers aren’t careful, can disappear just as quickly. Part of the allure of these sites is the ease and quickness with which they can be inhabited. It is with the same ease and quickness that they can be left and created elsewhere.
It is true that brand loyalty is not completely dead and once enough people have joined the brand it will not disappear overnight. But the heartbeat that marketers and advertisers want to tap into is not something that can be walled off and contained. This is why, with the rise of all of the agencies aimed specifically at social networking sites, there is very little action in way of effective execution and insights.
The key, in this creative’s humble opinion, is not to approach this field with the media planner’s arsenal of banners, drop-downs and sky scrapers, but to focus instead on the account planner with their ears to the ground listening to the drums telling of what’s to come in order to create for that.