Whenever I write about the influence of technology on social-media marketing, someone invariably trots out this chestnut: “Platforms come and go, but the ideas behind social-media marketing stay the same.” I think that statement is usually correct — but it only works in the near-term.
Small changes like the shift from Friendster to MySpace to Facebook don’t make a huge difference. There are some tactical changes that need to be made along the way, certainly. But the philosophical underpinnings of a sound social-media marketing strategy haven’t changed all that much in the last few years. We’re just getting better at applying them.
The last real game-changer was broadband. The data-intensive social-networking sites of today were a pipe dream 10 years ago. Streaming video would be impossible without it. More than that, most of us weren’t always online. Social media existed then — message boards, Usenet groups, chat rooms — but it wasn’t a persistent presence in our lives. Faster connections made that shift possible. Before that, Web advertising wasn’t very different from print advertising, at least not on a strategic level. Advertising has evolved this way for the last 120 years. Major technological innovations (film, radio, television, cable, the Web) produce seismic shifts in the way we think about marketing and public relations, while little technical changes produce refinements in existing strategies.
With me so far? Good. Because it’s about to happen again. Gartner and Morgan Stanley are both predicting that 2010 will be the year the mobile Web finally goes mainstream. We’ve had mobile Web access for years of course — but there’s a big different between the technology being available and the technology becoming ubiquitous. Adam Cahill has some interesting ideas about what that shift means for marketing, but the truth is we can’t predict exactly how the change will unfold. All we can do is wake up to the change, look at what we’re doing now and realize that it’s about to become dated. The search for ways to adapt to a still-changing world begins today. If you’re like me, you can’t wait to find out what comes next.
How will the explosion of mobile Web access change marketing? What will that shift mean for social networks? What will it mean for you?
Image credit, barisonal, via iStock