Is Advertising Killing Social Media Conversation?


MOMentum Twitter streamOne of the things I do for the women who write for MOMentum Nation is a daily email with the day’s post and I send along a tip or insight to help them with their own blogs. It’s a great group of women and we often get into conversations.  So the post I wrote last week about the changes in the blogosphere not only touched a cord and lit up a two-hour conversation on Twitter, it caused some discussion among our group worthy of another post.

Is there too much advertising in social today?
Susan Mudd said, “It seems to me that social media is now glutted with advertisers, and that will probably continue to get worse.”

“Many times I go on Twitter and get bored as there is no one to talk to. I miss the old days as well,” said Ann Bacciaglia. To which Mara Shapiro replied, “I agree with Ann. Sometimes I go on and it’s so boring. It’s just links or people out to promote themselves. When in the old days you’d tweet something funny or for advice you’d get tons of responses now it just gets lost.”

Is there too much focus on numbers and not enough on engagement?
Mara said, “The other interesting thing is that I was told by some bloggers that these days to work with a brand you need to have 10,000 followers, which is crazy. Gone are the days where 4,000 or 5,000 followers were considered a lot. And there are just too many channels being used in the wrong ways. What’s sad is that people will get sick of it and leave and that will be its demise.”

“I think what’s also lost sometimes with brands/PR firms is that they just look at raw numbers – like the 10,000 you mentioned. But there are some bloggers who do mostly giveaway and that always artificially increases your numbers plus the quality of the readership isn’t necessarily loyal. People are coming for only the prize, not for the great original content on your site. It’s quality versus quantity sometimes that needs to be considered. It’s the same concept that we used in Direct Mail when I worked in magazine publishing back in the day – it’s easy to get bodies because you can always “buy” them, but doesn’t mean they’re the kind of customers/readers you want to have long term, added Maria Wen Adcock, Bicultural Mama.

“And unfortunately, this leads to bloggers “buying” followers in one way or another so they look good to the brands,” quipped Rossana Wyatt.

“Conversation is dying on Twitter and it’s said that conversation deludes the point of Twitter. I disagree. But perhaps they’re speaking from a marketing standpoint? But what’s better than attracting potential new business via conversation?” Nicki Anderson asked.

Are there too many platforms for today’s blogger to handle?
“There are so many “hot, new” social media platforms and it’s hard to keep up. I just don’t have the bandwidth to be super active in all the platforms without ignoring some others,” said Maria.

Nugglemama, Julia Gabriel said, “I am adopting the attitude of find the platforms you love and use and rock them. Real engagement and interaction will have more value in the future than numbers.”

“With so much to focus on what does one focus on? For me, I’ve decided to take my focus off the social media with the exception of Twitter/Facebook (personal) and put my focus on writing good content and I’m hoping the pendulum will eventually swing back to stories, said Sharon Devellis.

What will this mean for the future of social media?
Having been in marketing for decades now, I’ve watched it evolve and transform many times. But never quite at the speed it has with social media and technology. I believe, this change in the blogosphere is just part of marketing’s natural progression of education. In a quest to get their messages out, brand’s clamor for new platforms and venues, but those platforms need to be utilized wisely. There are lessons to be learned as a part of the evolution and Brands will learn it’s all about quality content first. Quality content leads to engagement and conversation. The old days of social media will return. Maybe not on platforms that exist currently, but maybe the consumer will take charge and build what they want. It is after all the era where we control the conversation, right?

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