Social media saturation
We read an awful lot these days about the importance of social media in corporate communication strategies. Story after story spells out how companies invest untold millions of dollars in Facebook ads, promoting tweets on Twitter, launching YouTube and Vine videos and other similar gambits.
No one here is saying that social media is not important. Far from it. The convergence of the mass of people moving their lives more or less online with the rise of social media as a dominant communication tool spells exactly the opposite. Social media is here to stay.
What marketers should be aware of, however, is that consumers can and will reach a point of saturation in any medium, social media included. A classic example of this is the rise of direct mail in the 1980s and 90s. Those old enough to remember will recall mailboxes stuffed with envelopes and flyers from every company and pitch-man imaginable. The vast majority of these were filed quickly in the trashcan and direct-mail marketers made a living off of economies of scale primarily represented by enormous print runs with an anticipated return of less than 1%.
After a while, it got to where consumers were simply so inundated with direct mail that they no longer replied in numbers sufficient to warrant the mailings. Something similar is potentially on the horizon for social media.
Consumers’ lean increasingly towards social media as their preferred way to connect with family and friends (such as on Facebook and Instagram) and also perhaps with professional acquaintances (such as LinkedIn). When Facebook or Twitter open up the gates of their portals to advertisers, the reactions of users tend to be negative. At this point, they are likely to limit ads to the extent that platform privacy settings will allow. Or, at the very least, mostly ignore them.
Thus is a point of consumer saturation with social media reached. The take away lesson here is, while social media is a growing as a critical component in advertising and branding strategies, like all other mediums, it’s not the only one.
Marketers are wise to keep their options open when it comes to reaching consumers. Social media is important — but is not yet omnipotent enough to serve as the only egg in your communications basket.