Social Media is growing at a pace that can be best termed as "unstoppable." Thousands of social media tools have been invented, launched and then failed.
The top social media platforms are reaching their maturity stage and look to be in a consolidating position, where their objectives and goals are set; and they know their potential. Financially, the major platforms seem to be on a profit making spree. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & YouTube stand out of the crowd, whereas Pinterest, Instagram, Quora, Google+ are making their way to the top, but still have a long way to go.
But, what does the consumer do, where does he go from here?
On one hand, I feel overwhelming by all the products, application, contents and activities offered by my social media networks. Yet, I'll admit, I'm practically addicted to my social media platforms, so I'm a rather vulnerable target of these marketing gimmicks. Recently, I read 5 Tips for Avoiding Social Media Burnout by Rachel Strella, and I could understand the need to occasionally unplug.
Don't get me wrong, there are brands that genuinely engage their loyal fans and give them a reason to follow. But there are also brands that just follow the leaders and come up with initiatives that does not add any value to their follower's lives.
I see a lot of analysis, but I don't see a lot of action in response to that analysis. Every action, interaction, sentiment, timing of the action, frequency and intent gets captured. At a certain level, these insights are extremely important in planning, strategy & decision making. But it is extremely important to find out the motive behind these analysis. I don't think we've successfully figured out what is relevant to track.
I have subscribed to more than 120 social media tools to date and have found some deficiency in all of them - yes, each one. What starts as a suite of premium features, turn out to be just a tool that reports everything that is provided by 10 other tools. I haven't found one suite that is good enough to be the all-in-one tool that suits the requirements of all the members of our social media team.
Marketers lust after Big Data. The most important prediction for 2013 has been the over-reliance on tools that can crunch billions of data-points and give meaningful insights.
Big Data does come in handy in getting some insights, but I worry that it is more of a fad that marketers and top level executives are falling for. The best insight can come from actually being on these platforms and talking to the consumers, receiving feedback and then taking action based on that feedback.
I know that a lot of readers may not agree on my point of view, and it is a topic that is open for discussion & debate.