I can’t be bothered. Why social media giants need to ready themselves for rationalisation.
After two consecutive client meetings this week, I was left wondering whether the big social media bubble had finally burst.
Both clients, in two completely different industries, uttered the exact same phrase when talking about their social media marketing:
“I can’t be bothered with it all. It’s such a waste of time.”
Fools! I hear you say. They obviously don’t understand.
Digital is the WAY AHEAD. If you are not doing digital marketing, you’re dead.
After the last few years you’d be forgiven for thinking that is, indeed, the case. But both of these businesses are well established, highly successful, award winning enterprises in their own industries. Both of them are financially sound. Neither are stupid.
They know their market. They know their distribution channels. They absolutely “get” their own marketing strategies and how best to reach their target customers.
One, active in the tourism accommodation market had established a strong pipeline through Online Travel Agents Booking.com and a solid supply of direct repeat business directly through their own website. Their last Facebook post was several months ago and, despite this reckless abandonment of social media, they are running at over 85% occupancy.
The other, active in domestic and commercial heating and plumbing supplies, has a network of bricks and mortar show rooms, an established web presence and rarely posts on Facebook. They politely asked that we remove their Twitter and Instagram links because those platforms “don’t work”. They can’t recruit and train fast enough to keep up with demand.
This is a trend we’ve seen over the last few years, which started pre-covid, of customers rationalising their digital channels and focussing on what drives sales.
It’s no longer just about return on investment (remember that) but return on time or efforts, and digital channels, in many businesses, are being shoved right down to the bottom of the priority pile. They have become time consuming, money hungry, vanity projects for a great many and a solid return on investment for a few.
Are we surprised? No, not in the least.
Clients’ obsessions with driving social media domination over the last decade was always going to have to be balanced out at some stage. It’s entirely appropriate for a business to move away from a communications channel if it is no longer serving the business. Just like so many businesses moved away from print a few decades ago (it never really died though, like they all predicted) and others stopped depending on TV advertising, ironically just before it’s pandemic renaissance saw it climb to higher viewing figures than ever before.
What remains to be seen is if the social media platforms are ready for this rationalisation trend, and if they have prepared adequately to ready the storm. Only time will tell.