According to a joint report from Econsultancy and Adobe released last week content marketing is the number one priority for marketers in 2013.
The report states that 39 percent of client-side marketers worldwide identified content marketing as their top priority this year. Although content marketing barely edged out social media engagement in terms of priorities, the year-over-year numbers show that social media marketing is on the decline – both from a priority and enthusiasm standpoint, while content marketing is gaining momentum.
Why the shift?
I think there are a number of reasons why we’re seeing this change in mentality about social media and content marketing.
The social media hype is wearing off.
For far too long, social media has been filled with an abundance of hype and fear mongering. Blog posts and videos exclaim that you MUST have a social media presence if you want stay in business.
Not only is that wildly untrue, but it also sets up many businesses for failure by suggesting that’s the case. I’m a big proponent of social media, but it does not make sense for every business.
Now, I think we’re starting to see the sheen of social media wear off. Marketers are either not seeing results from their social media efforts or they’ve realized they’ve placed too much importance on this marketing channel.
Either way, we’re now reaching a point where social media is going to quit being perpetuated as the answer to every marketing problem.
Social media isn’t getting results.
As a result of all that hype, businesses quickly scrambled to develop a social media presence to avoid missing out on this golden opportunity.
But sadly, I think many did so without developing a clear strategy first.
Whether businesses wanted to be seen as hip with the times or they just felt the need to be on social channels “because everyone else is”, these reasons are no longer holding water.
These businesses have invested time in social media, but they’re not able generate results passed numbers of “likes” or followers.
Now, marketers are realizing they either need to pull back from social media or re-think how they spend their time there. Or, perhaps they are realizing that this social media thing is much harder than they thought.
The reality of the work it takes to be successful is finally starting to set in.
Social media needs content to be successful.
To quote Jay Baer, content is the fire and social media is the gasoline.
Social media can indeed amplify your content and your brand. But, you have to have something to share first.
Sadly, many businesses have done this backward. They’ve built out profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest, but have yet to develop interesting, original content to share.
Without content, your social media efforts are thin on value. People follow and connect with you because they want to hear YOUR insights, YOUR ideas and YOUR solutions. If you don’t point them to something you’ve created, you’re either constantly promoting yourself (i.e. “buy our stuff!” or “hire our team!”) or promoting other people’s stuff.
That’s why you’ve got to develop your own content first. And it doesn’t have to be a blog. It can be videos, photography, white papers, ebooks, podcasts, webinars – you name it. You just have to create something original and valuable to your target audience.
Once you do that, you can use social media to help amplify that content and get it into the hands of more people.
Perhaps, at long last, marketers are starting to recognize that content marketing can be incredibly effective, which is why it ranks as the top priority for 2013.
The Bottom Line
Do I think social media is going away?
I think it’s still a viable way to build relationships and connect with customers and prospects.
But, I think (and hope) it will no longer be considered the silver bullet that solves everyone’s marketing challenges. Instead, it should be one of many tools and channels available to help you achieve success with your business.
What do you think? Is social media going away? Do you think it has lived up to the hype?
Image credit: Auntie P