Is Social Media on the Decline?

It has been an interesting topic of conversation over the last few weeks: “The End of Social Media?”

And while that’s a little dramatic (and we aren’t about to say that authors should stop using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — that’s practically career suicide nowadays!), it may be time to start thinking about what you’re going to do after the social media craze is over….

Several months ago, I started noticing that television commercials for everything from fast food to cleaning products were no longer putting their domain names at the footer of the screen at the end of the commercial. Instead, they were putting their Facebook URLs. I specifically remember seeing I remember wondering if this was a wise move … after all, you’re taking your website traffic and sending it to Facebook.

I now know that my instincts were correct. That’s not a wise move for anyone. In fact, this recent article from AdAge points out how Pepsi has fallen well below Coke because of its heavy focus on social networking.

There’s also an article in a recent issue of Internet and Marketing Report that estimates that the social media craze has pretty much peaked (thank goodness). Much like reality TV, it will remain popular for a while, but won’t continue to grow at leaps and bounds.

So, for authors, this is the time to take a step back and start thinking about how you’re going to manage your online marketing efforts for the next few years. After all, it’s better to be ahead of the curve than behind it!

One of the concerns I’ve had about social networking from the beginning is the fact that, unlike with your own website, it’s the social networking sites that are essentially in control of your profile and your relationships. For example, you may have 1,000 Facebook friends. But if they stop using Facebook, then you’ve essentially lost them. You don’t have their contact info (phone number, email address), nor do you know how to reach them through other social networking channels.

So maybe it’s time to take the bull by the horns. Here are a few ways to do that….

  1. Ask all your Facebook friends/fans to give you their contact info directly. Try encouraging them to sign up for your email newsletter, and make sure you offer some kind of reward for doing that. This way, the information will be in your hands, and you can do with it as you wish down the line.
  2. Talk to any teenagers you know and ask them how they’re following their favorite authors, actors, singers, etc… They always have a leg up on us oldies (and I’m in my 30s, which makes me practically ancient).
  3. Put your attention back to your own website. Do you keep it current? Do you blog? Rather than spending all your time on social networking sites, make sure you don’t neglect your own site. After all, that’s yours. It can always be yours.

Who knows what the future holds in terms of author marketing…. But if you think ahead, you may get a leg up on everyone else.