They say everything old is new again. Social media marketing is reeling from the chaos and crisis happening around major social platforms now. Could what SEO experienced a few years ago point the way to the future?
In this episode of our popular Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Perficient Digital’s Mark Traphagen explains the parallels between the crisis that nearly caused the fabled death of SEO a few years ago and the upheavals happening right now in social media, and how the lessons learned by SEOs then can help social marketers survive and thrive today.
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- Social Media in 2018: Time to Grow Up or Get Out by Mark Traphagen
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Eric: Mark, there is an old saying, “Everything old is new again.”
Mark: Yes, Eric. And in the digital marketing world, it doesn’t take long for something to become old and neither does it take it long for its newest manifestation to pop up.
Eric: Sounds like you have something specific in mind.
Mark: I do, indeed. But let me start with the new thing.
Right now, we’re seeing social media in more upheaval and crisis than ever before. In just the past few months, we’ve been through things like the revelations of Facebook and Twitter being used in attempts to manipulate our elections, ever-tightening algorithmic control of organic reach, and the removal of key metrics such as share counts. I mean, just to name a few of the stunning news items hitting the social media marketing world.
Eric: And those things all impact social media marketing?
Mark: Well, they certainly impact business as usual social media marketing.
Eric: So, what do you mean by business as usual marketing?
Mark: I’m talking about the kind of marketing, or “marketing” so-called, on social media that relies primarily on tricks and hacks, on gaming the News Feed algorithms or trying to trick followers into taking actions they could care less about. All of that is pretty much of no value now, and I say, “Good riddance.”
Eric: Because it won’t work well anymore.
Mark: Because it never really did work. Oh sure, you used to be able to get those tricks to get more reach or gain more followers, but there was never any evidence that doing so helped anyone achieve real business goals. It was just social engagement for engagement’s sake.
What SEOs Have Known for a While
Eric: You said that’s the new thing. What’s the old thing that this is recapitulating?
Mark: Well, it’s the experience of SEO, Search Engine Optimization. As you well know, at one time, SEO was way too dependent on hacks and tricks of its own, all meant to try to fool Google into ranking pages that often had no business ranking.
Eric: But then, Google began to crack down and became much more sophisticated at detecting and penalizing things like paid link schemes and low-quality content.
Mark: Exactly. And quickly, all those games and tricks of the past began to lose their value. It was such a shocker at the time that many proclaimed the death of SEO.
Eric: But, of course, SEO didn’t die.
Mark: Far from it. Although, who knows how many former SEOs gave up at that time, but a great many didn’t. And a lot of those including all of our SEO practitioners here at Perficient Digital even thrived in the changes.
Eric: So, what happened?
Mark: They grew up. They matured as individual practitioners and as an industry. Instead of railing at Google for taking away their paychecks, they learned how to become real marketers. They learned how to create real value for users, how to be better technicians to work with Google and to broaden their horizon into things like user satisfaction and brand building.
Eric: And so, that’s what you think social media marketers need to do now?
Mark: Yes. It’s time for social marketing to emerge from its infancy and its dependency on the toddler toys of hacks and tricks and learn to become real marketers, providing superior value, engaging with their real audiences, and returning measurable value to their companies.
Eric: Thanks Mark. For a list of the specific steps Mark advises social media marketers to take to thrive in the brave new world of social media, please read his Marketing Land column titled “Social media in 2018: Time to grow up or get out.”
Don’t miss a single episode of Here’s Why . Click the subscribe button below to be notified via email each time a new video is published.