The impact of public controversy on social media marketing has become a common theme of this blog in recent months. But I like to think that I’ve remained largely agnostic about it.
As a social media marketing professional, maybe I’m expected to offer some specific insight into the future trajectory of certain platforms and trends. But I don’t think anyone can do that with much reliability. The best we can do is be aware of those trends as they start to emerge, and keep an eye on them.
So I’m going to continue to weigh in from time to time on the question of whether public backlash against Facebook and its brethren is every going to actually diminish the value of social media marketing. But unless something pretty drastic happens, my advice to most clients is going to remain along the lines of, “Keep at it, but hedge your bets.”
The reason why I’m bringing this up now is because Netflix recently released a new documentary called “The Social Dilemma” and it is making international headlines for supposedly prompting some viewers to change their social media habits.
In some cases, those changes reportedly include deleting entire profiles and trying to put oneself beyond the reach of social media marketing. There’s good reason to believe that this is a growing movement. And there’s good reason to be alarmed by that if social media marketing is a major part of your business strategy.
But on the other hand, there’s also good reason to believe that the number of people starting new accounts or returning to old social media platforms will continue to exceed the number of people fleeing its perceived manipulation and intrusion into their lives. If that’s the case, then the persistent controversy doesn’t really represent an existential threat to your social media marketing. At the most, it’s a symbol of the need for constant monitoring, analysis, and innovation.
Even before all of this controversy arose, it would have been a mistake to think of social media marketing as something static – something you could put into place and then walk away from. Under present circumstances, it’s more apparent than ever than your audience is going to be constantly changing over the life of your marketing campaign. At the same time, many of those who remain within the reach of your social media marketing will probably change the way they engage with their preferred platforms.
Expect people to become savvier to your efforts to reach them via traditional methods on social media. Expect them to become more resistance to your marketing efforts. But don’t expect them to walk away in droves. Social media is too deeply ingrained in our lives to be threatened by anything as serious as a Netflix documentary. And unless existing controversies escalate far beyond what anyone’s currently seeing, there will always be ways to make social media marketing work for a skeptical audience.