Social Networking – is it really working?

Social networking has been key to many marketing strategies and key to many people’s lives for the last 8-10 years. It strikes me that whilst many marketers have seen this as a panacea to the age old question of how to reach potential customers in a cost effective manner, people are starting to move away from the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

The intrusion of social networks into our lives has perhaps had more impact than we would care to admit. Feeling the need to grow your own network, comment and like, be seen to be an active member of your community. Using networks to organise events, share photos and keep up with people that, let’s face it, you’ve probably met a few times but don’t really know that well; reading articles, keeping up with trends, using your network to email people. It seems that social networks have become all encompassing.

However, with this comes the rise of the slow movement. A return to the “real world”, taking time to step back, think and watch the world about you. With this in mind I made the conscious decision to not use Facebook for a week. How has this impacted on me? It has allowed me to take the time to consider the value of the information fed to me via my news feed – do I miss it? No. Was it enhancing my life? No. Have I missed any events? No. – strangely people still know how to use a phone and I find that more enriching – having a conversation rather than a 20-second soundbite that they or I may have posted.

For marketers what does this mean? I certainly won’t be the only person experimenting with this “de-toxification”. And whilst it will take some time and of course, not everyone will move away, I would forsee that marketers are going to have to find new ways, or perhaps more inventive ways, of reaching people. Creativity and customer understanding will need to return as a skill in marketing. It will take another 5-10 years but slowing down really is gathering momentum.


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