Is social media’s honeymoon over?

Geoff Livingston had a great post today addressing a very interesting issue:

Somewhere along the way, social media folks thought they should completely reinvent business. That they knew better, and that could they completely disregard history’s many lessons about how to build great products that work. But more goes into product marketing then just listening to memes of what’s cool.

There’s a lot of investments being made in social media and I think we’re at a point where social media is maturing.

Social media’s honeymoon is coming to an end -  but that’s actually a good thing – albeit with some challenges.

As social media moves from the periphery to the mainstream, it will increasingly be regarded as a core part of the communications and marketing function rather than some sort of interesting skunk works project. And that will demand a whole new level of rigor.

This changes the discussion a little.

A few years back – though notably less today – there was a lot of online chatter about how PR practitioners were in danger of extinction because they weren’t adopting and evolving with social media. These discussions treated social media like it was was some incredibly complex, intellectual pursuit only accessible by the world’s rocket scientists.



We’ve come full circle.

As businesses adopt social media as an integrated element of the marketing mix they will treat it as such.  Much of the freedom will dissipate and  practitioners will increasingly be expected to operate as part of the marketing organization – to understand the marketing process, in short to understand the business.

From a PR perspective it’s not enough to have an in-depth knowledge of the tools, channels and influencers.  Great social media programs will require experienced practitioners who can couple traditional skills and expertise with social media nous.

I’ve always advocated this approach.  The basics of good marketing and communications haven’t changed. Those basics remain vital.

Over the past few weeks I have read a lot of claptrap written by people who have demonstrated that while they may have a lot of knowledge and experience with social media they are missing a rudimentary knowledge of great communications, strategy, issues management etc.

PR has always faced the challenge that everyone thinks they can do it, and social media is no different. 

I think a lot of people are winging it and it’s pretty obvious.

Successful marketing and communications will marry traditional skills and experience, with an in-depth knowledge of how social media can support, extend and improve programs, outreach and engagement.

As social media’s honeymoon ends, there’s a lot of opportunity but the transition to mainstream marketing brings with it a wide range of new demands and expectations.

Exciting times ahead.