Remember when social media was the new cool kid?

Somewhere after the wanna-be MySpace age, the IT thing was to get your brand, business, or organization on Facebook and any new social channel that popped up.

Remember feeling overwhelmed with all the social channels that all the “experts” said you HAD to be on, to be where the eyeballs were?

I remember one of my first “jobs” in social media, at the direction of the marketing VP with an actual certificate in digital marketing (the CEO always joked that he got it from a Cracker Jack box), was to go to every social network I could find and create an account for their new product line — complete with description and photo. #DigitalMarketingFail

When it comes to social media, I think we’ve come along far enough on the journey to have a proper understanding of what social media is and isn’t. The hype has died down, the list has boiled down to a few main networks to focus on, and the need to be on everything — even if poorly — has thankfully gone away. A few things have driven this trend, and they help to set our social media expectations.


When organizations first tackled social media, it was with a “build it and they will come” frame of mind. Let’s throw this against a wall and see what sticks. Focusing on a target market helps to select the right social channel, refine content, and show up in searches to answer the right needs.

The latest Pew Researchcan give us some insight into where your target market is. Looking to target the below-30 crowd? Instagram might be where you want to focus. Got a product or service for women? You’ll want to invest some marketing dollars in Pinterest. Interested in the college-educated group? Facebook and LinkedIn are safe bets.


Digital Marketers have a love/hate relationship with Google. Love because their data can help us focus on what is needful. Hate because they change the rules every so often to make sure we don’t abuse that data to game the system. For example, keyword stuffing is no longer going to help you get found online. Simply giving people what they’re looking for — no games, tricks, or manipulation — is what your focus really needs to be on. And the one that, with consistency, will bring the best results. Results that won’t suffer when Google changes the rules. Again.

Content and Value

Ever heard the phrase “content is king”? That’s because it is. Being on every social network ever created is pointless without the content that answers the question to someone’s problem. What value do you bring to the table? It’s better to be on one network and rock that out, then to be on five with mediocre effort.

Paid Advertising

The space is crowded now, and getting found or seen is not as simple as it used to be. Many social networks offer paid advertising to help alleviate this. While it’s never fun to have to bust out the wallet, it does help us to focus on all the above mentioned.

None of these represent a magic bullet. Instead, it helps us get a basic understanding of how things relate in the social media realm, and therefore manages our expectations on what it does or doesn’t do. It’s a part of doing business in this digital age — and having the right expectations helps put it into the proper marketing perspective. It’s fair to say that, whatever new social channel is developed or however the current ones change, the dynamics of the above will remain the same.