There is not a day go by that in some form of communication I receive I am asked where I think Social Media is going. My answer usually is..One thing is for sure, It’s changing? The real answer is, social media is changing to social search.
Since the inception of online marketing, or promoting oneself or business on the internet, there has been this question everyone asks…where is all of this going?
This is a real good question and one worth finding an answer. However, since the answer to where Social Media is going..and not going..is a long one, I have broken this into two parts. His is Part One.
Where Has Social Search Been
Fortunately, social media has already changed. This means the way people communicate online, who they communicate with and how they use the social spaces has changed. Let’s make this clear..social media has changed..not changing or about to change..it has changed.
Some of you may have not seen it change and if you are one of the three people still using Facebook and Twitter then you may have not seen the change or you missed when social media changed. The point is..social media changed. What changed, what social media changed to and where is this new change going, are the next questions you will have, so let’s get after answering them.
Let’s start with what and who forced the change to be made. Businesses who only saw the internet as a commercial billboard forced social media to change. Individuals who only see the internet as a playground for their special interest forced social media to change. And, of course the social networks who allowed their platform to be used by those who were not really interested in being social played a huge part on forcing social media to change. Unfortunately how these people, places and things used the internet was turning off the very people they were attempting to attract, so the users of the internet were the key to what forced social media to change.
Consumers Had Enough
Unwanted content and messages placed into the users stream of social communications forced internet users….who by the way are also consumers…to learn how to get around the huge volume of unsolicited content. They did this by using the internet as it was first created to be used for and that was to Search for ways to stop the intrusions.
The Google Search…the very first application of the internet…the platform first created to make sense of the mass of content flooding into the internet…was what consumers went back to using as a resource to finding ways around all of the crap businesses where placing in their social stream.
Of course they found what they wanted in the Google Search which triggered the beginning of the change in the way the users of social spaces to now become Social Search.
Where the Change Is Being Made
Gratefully, the leader in making the changing in social media is Google and of course us..the people who learned to use the internet for what it really is .
Unfortunately, this new direction social media is taking is not making a lot of the old school digital strategist businesses very happy. Most of the mainstream SEO Houses did not take seriously the changes Google were over the past four years in how Google Searches were being changed. Again, unfortunately, these people who do not want social media to change direction still influence many of the icons of the business world who have control of the online marketing economy. This control of the marketing budgets resulted in many businesses suffering less than satisfactory results from their internet marketing which as a result made the digital marketing strategist who did see the light of change to be looked at very septically by businesses who needed to move with the change. Eventually,…as is always the case in the business world…the consumer wins and the businesses paying the old school SEO’er the big bucks closed out their auto-payments accounts with them and jumped on board to the internet marketers who caught the train to Change.
Consumers Win the Battle, but not the War
The pressure from the consumers, who ultimately fund all of the world’s online marketing efforts, won out and forced change to how they prefer to be marketing to. Consumers forced businesses to start listening to logic and not the hundreds of unverifiable statistics trumped up to show that placing spam in the social spaces was working.
Marketing directors started asking old school online marketing strategist some very tough questions for which they have not good answers. Businesses were asking questions like, Why are the millions of people who Like our Facebook page not resulting into enough sales to pay for the very expensive marketing campaign you had us sign up for?
Jumped to Search Everything
All of these pull backs and work arounds the consumers found through searching Google is what changed social media to now become social search. The message now being made by consumers is clear. Those not moving to supply consumers with they want and how they want to be told about what they want… with will be left behind.
In Part Two I’ll take a look at some of the ways consumers prefer to be presented the content on the products and services they search.
Until then, let me know how I can help.