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What is Social Media Now – and What will Social Media be in 2015

social media

So•cial me•di•a (noun)

  1. websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

Source: Downloaded from on 12/28/14

I wanted to start with that definition because it seems to have been changing over the course of 2014 — changing into what was ‘social networking’ and other action oriented terms that imply social media is more than websites and apps and inanimate objects.

Social media is media.  Like broadcast media, and print media and out of home media.

Okay, beaten that horse.

Where is social media today?  Well,  I think the shine has come off it.  As Zack Heller recently wrote:

“The days of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks are over. Companies are approaching social smarter. Budgets have not necessarily shrunk, in fact many have grown, but it’s because we finally start measuring what works and what doesn’t, and focusing our money and energy in the right places.”

Source: Downloaded from on 12/28/14

I just wish I have witnessed the measurement – because too many of the organizations I have worked with or studied are still struggling with the measurement.  And this report from Offerpop seems to support my experience…sadly.

“Only 29% of marketers indicated they were effectively measuring ROI.”

Source: Downloaded from on 12/28/14.

So Where is Social Media Headed in 2015?

I think we continue to test and learn – which means measure, analyze, modify and test.  And that means we need to improve our ability to measure.

I also think that the best in class will start (continue) to own the relationship rather than rely on a platform owned by someone else that can – as Facebook has done – screw with your ability to engage your audience.

“If you have to choose between adding a subscriber to your email list or gaining a new Facebook Fan, go for email every time.”

Source: Downloaded from on 12/28/14

I think you see the best in class start (continue) to create their own platforms/communities.  From that same Fast Company article:

Forrester predicts that “branded communities” are going to be the next big thing in 2015, citing the fact that Sony’s microsite for the PlayStation 4 attracted 4.5 million visits.

Seriously – if you are going to want to control when you can communicate with your audiences and what you can say to them…build and host your own platform.  Is it a lot of work?  Yes…but if you do it right and have measurable objectives and a clear strategy, why wouldn’t it pay off?  (Obviously, make sure you have the expertise and other key resources – and remember you didn’t have any of that when someone dictated ‘Let’s build a Facebook Page!’ several years ago.)

Finally, I suspect we will see a few more shiny objects that will make key people in our organizations stop and ask “Why aren’t we on there yet?!”  Hopefully you will do the research and come up with a data-driven recommendation rather than just caving and investing resources into something that will not deliver an acceptable ROI.

Oh, and as an “Added Bonus”, I also agree with Jay Baer – social media jobs are going away.  Only my reason is that it’s media and it should be the responsibility of your media team.

For most organizations, social media has become an advertising channel (paid) with some media/press relations (earned) and some content (owned).  Sharing – the social networking/engagement part – has been reduced to automated posts and customer service conversations that either end in [a] a satisfied customer, or [b] a recommendation to take the conversation to another channel (telephone) or [c] some type of exchange that gets the PR team out of bed at 3 am in full ‘crisis mode’.

As always, looking forward to your comments!

Note from Pat: I came across this and thought you might appreciate it…

Actually, the dust is beginning to settle around social. Marketers are beginning to understand social; the kind of euphoric excitement is simmering down, and that’s a good thing. Social is one more tool in the arsenal, but there’s no longer this overemphasis on the power of social by itself; it’s becoming more a strategic component of a campaign rather than a bright, shiny object. It’s normalizing.
–Rebecca Lieb, Analyst, Altimeter Group

Downloaded from on 12/29/14

“Normalizing”…what a nice way to say “…the shine is coming off that turd…”?  Anyway, read the entire article at DM NEWS…it’s “interesting”.


  1. Jrafi Canada January 28, 2015

    An instructive post. People to really know who
    they want to reach and why or else, they’ll have no way to know what they’re
    trying to achieve. People need to hear this and have it drilled in their
    Thanks for sharing this great article.
    check for ecommerce  tips and solution…

  2. patmcgraw January 28, 2015

    Thanks for taking the time to comment … and I an glad you found value in the comment.

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