This article was published on February 21, 2011

How Advertising is Changing Social Media

How Advertising is Changing Social Media

Words I have been hearing a lot in recent times in social media: acquiring, owning, recruiting and retaining. I’ve heard these words before from brands, agencies and people within the industry. They are not the same social media buzz words from 18 months ago like: community, engaging and organic.

So what has changed? Lots of money pouring into the industry and the arrival of large scale advertising.

I suppose this is inevitable when you see how much money brands are pumping into Facebook advertising that the mentality would shift. 18 months ago people were dipping their toes in the water with small campaigns but brands now launch products entirely through social media and if they are doing that they need to make sure it reaches a substantial audience. They are paying for that reach.

Will social media just end up being called “media” in the future? Will we talk about the number of likes and followers brands have in the same way we look at TV viewers and newspaper readers 10 years ago?

The smart brands still know that the real power lies in the conversations; engaging and helping customers with things like brilliant customer service. There is however, a lot of money spent on advertising. The days of building a community organically are gone for the big guys and it’s more about buying their way to the top like it used to be with more traditional forms of media. That is why we have reached a stage where acquiring, recruiting and owning have made their way back into industry language.

The key to the future lies somewhere in the middle. Acquire lots of loyal followers (by all means use advertising) and looking after, engaging and listening to them rather than just continuing to broadcast to them. That was the old way.

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