Today, social media is like a soccer league for seven year-olds: everyone gets a trophy.
The vast majority of press coverage and conversations around social media centers around the fact that businesses are DOING social media, not necessarily doing it EFFECTIVELY. Do you know why every article or blog post with even a scintilla of information about success metrics goes supernova? Because we're still in the social media head-patting phase, and we're handing out participation ribbons by the truckload. Thus, anything with real data snaps us to attention like a Taser.
Killing the Golden Goose
Every company will eventually be social, whether they want to or not. Customers will demand it. There were businesses that didn't want to use the telephone, or the Web, or email either. And they had to adopt and adapt because customers insisted that they be allowed to interact with companies via those channels.
It will happen again. And then what?
Social media will inexorably become about something other than special offers, because when every company has an offer, yours isn't so special.
When every company is active in social media, and consumers are besieged by invitations to follow, fan, friend, subscribe, like, share, enter to win, create videos, author a haiku, or any number of other opportunities, how will you fare?
The day is coming when we'll judge companies not on whether they have a social media program, but on whether that program is relevant, interesting, and financially successful. The day is coming when there are social media winners AND social media losers.
I give it 18 months. Are you getting ready?