2014: The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media

As the new year starts to unfold, we see a multitude of articles offering up predictions for the 2014.  From fashion, to music, to the economy and of course, social media. What’s funny about these predictions, is, well they are predictable.  Some of them foretell the death of Facebook (not going to happen) while others predict that Google+ will be the king of social networks this year (Want to know a secret?  Google+ isn’t a social network the way most define it).  So, what do you believe?  What predictions are on the mark and what predictions are just plain silly?  Look at the history or experience of the people making the predictions and use common sense!

With all of that being said, I can confidently state: 2014 will be The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media.

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In December, TechCrunch published an article, Facebook: Brands Will Have to Work Harder (Or Buy Ads) For Your Attention – But Fans Still Matter.  The post highlighted what Facebook finally admitted – and brand managers suspected – organic, or non-paid reach for business pages had been decreasing.  Why?  Mainly because Facebook is not showing that content in the newsfeed.  According to Facebook their Billion plus users are sharing so much content that a business breaking through that noise is unlikely just by sharing content organically.  The solution? Promoted Posts and paying to advertise your page. If you have a business page on Facebook, you have probably noticed your reach decreasing and, if you want to reverse that trend, you will have to pay.

So, on Facebook, it is definitely Pay to Play for businesses. What about the other platforms?  Google+ is testing ads that will show up in their newsfeed, promoted accounts and Tweets have been part of Twitter for years, plus you can pay to monetize your Video’s on YouTube.  In other words, pay to play isn’t new, it’s just becoming more apparent and necessary.

One of the fallacies of social media over the years has been it’s free or low-cost. Thankfully that is not true or I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills. Social media is a tool, or a set of tools just like direct mail, advertising, PR and everything else that you can fit under the umbrella term of marketing. However, it is not free. Never has been. Never will be. Especially now.  Business owners, marketing professionals, social media consultants, et.al, must face the fact that to cut through the clutter of these various social platforms will require advertising. In addition to advertising, it will require a well planned strategy that includes using and utilizing the social platforms that fit into the niche or target demographics of the  business.

Paying to Play on Social Media also highlights the importance of a business optimizing their own website, but more on that later.

No matter what social platform or platforms you decide to hang your business hat on, get ready to pay; in 2014 and beyond. Those are my thoughts; what are yours?  Will you pay to play?

Super Bowl Thoughts

Super Bowl XLVI is history, and the NY Giants are champions again.  Anyone that knows me, knows I love football, and that I am a die-hard Washington Redskins fan.  Hey, if my team couldn’t be in the Super Bowl, I figured I may as well root for someone from our division right?

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Just some passing thoughts on this Super Bowl, the commercials, and everything related to the greatest spectacle in sports!

Super Bowl & Football Thoughts

  • Eli Manning IS an elite quarterback. His place in football history along with his spot in the Football Hall of Fame is secure.  
  • Archie Manning not only showed us what a good quarterback can do; he showed us how to raise good young men and provide them with the opportunity to succeed at what they wanted to do.
  • Tom Coughlin is a Hall of Fame Coach.  No discussion necessary.
  • The Patriots were out played and out coached.
  • Tom Brady and at times the Patriots, looked like they had never been to a Super Bowl; that was stunning to me. Intentional grounding out of your own end zone?  Really? Meanwhile the Giants looked like they were in control the entire game. 

The Commercials

  • Client Eastwood is still THE man!  That Chrysler commercial gave me chills. Yes, they took government money in a bailout, but they paid it back.  Great job Clint & Chrysler.
  • Dogs are lovable and they sell!  Several commercials featuring dogs that were very well done.
  • Pepsi still has it! Or at least their marketing firm does.  The Castle Commercial was classic Pepsi, a great spot.
  • Sex sells. GoDaddy.com. Do we expect anything more from them? 
  • Ferris. Bueller.  VW & Mathew Broderick; instant classic.
  • We never get tired of Betty White.
  • I am very tired of promos for The Voice.
  • The M&M commercial was funny! Brown is the new color and the red M&M stripping was hilarious!  Thanks Dawn ( @VAinParadise ) for the reminder! 

Madonna & The Halftime Show

  • Wondering if Bridgestone is pleased with what they paid for?
  • At 53, Madonna can still move and looked great. I know I don’t look half that good at 47! 
  • Dancing in 8″ heels can lead to certain trips; but she did have great recovery.
  • Lip syncing: never have liked it and think it’s lame.  Had a great discussion on Twitter last night with Sueanne Shirzay ( @SueanneShirzay ) about this.  I respectfully disagree with her; no matter what the size of the venue, you shouldn’t have to lip sync if you can still sing :)
  • MIA flipping off the nation.  Really; what that necessary?  For this reason alone, I think the show sucked; just not the venue for it.

Social Media & The Super Bowl

  • A lot was made prior to the game about social media and the NFL, but to me the most use of social media was the advertisers. Several commercials were leaked via advertisers YouTube channels prior to airing on Super Bowl Sunday. I believe there was an attempt to recereat VW’s success last year with the Darth Vader commercial.  
  • Social media cannot be forced.  Communities and discussions cannot be forced. None of the spots created that Darth Vader buzz prior to the game.
  • I noticed, especially on Twitter, more discussion of the commercials than the game.  Found this very interesting.

Those are my thoughts and ramblings.  How about you? Did you like the game, the show, the commercials?  Or did you not even watch?

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