Social media: constantly innovating, occasionally clichéd

For an industry built on innovation and forward-thinking, social media sure has its fair share of metaphors and clichés.

Don’t get me wrong, they perform a purpose; they help us metaphorically visualise the virtual. Clicking on a Like button doesn’t necessarily mean anything until you consider that the action demonstrates the user’s engagement with a brand or piece of content.

Over the years marketeers coined expressions, such as engagement, to help their clients understand the real-world value in social media actions. As the social media tsunami continued to sweep across the world, more and more companies decided it was time to start listening to their customers online and to really start adding value by creating rich and shareable – and let’s not forget engaging – social content. Spot the clichés?

The problem with clichés is that they become the accepted norm. The status quo. And that goes against the very grain of social media – an industry in a constant state of change and innovation thanks to the people who choose to look beyond the status quo.

The following slideshare by Velocity Partners identifies three of the biggest culprits currently arising in the b2b social space and questions whether we should blindly accept or intelligently critique.

The Funnel – yes we want to lead consumers down the good old purchase funnel, but consider this; there’s no gravity on social media to push them through the funnel. There are also no hard sides to stop consumers escaping at any moment in time.

The purchase journey – you have an intention if you’re on a journey, you have a destination. But a consumer doesn’t necessarily know which brand they want to buy from or what they want to buy. In short, there’s no reason why they would be heading in the direction of any one brand.

The follower – are they really your friends and are they inside your circle? Are they really your follower, your disciple, hanging on to every last word? Probably not. Is there really more value in having lots of half-interested hangers-on than in a niche group of people who actually want to hear what you have to say?

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