Change Is The Only Constant In The Social Web – Embrace It Or Die Trying
It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. If you’re one to keep up with the every changing world of the web and marketing online you’ll probably know what I’m talking about. Social media and digital marketing has made major strides from being a sideline “fad” that some businesses dabbled with 6-8 years ago into a more mainstream focus area for a lot of brands and businesses today that are looking at it more seriously. In India, we’re still considerably in the early stages of leveraging online channels for marketing and despite some really great examples of success stories, the bulk of businesses and professionals have a long way to go on the maturity curve in terms of really understanding how it works to really use these channels correctly.
One of the biggest challenges - expectations & mindsets don’t change at the pace online marketing trends and technology changes at!
About 3 years ago, we managed to build a lot of traffic for an online retail brand and the core of the social media marketing effort was a blog with a highly organized publishing and editorial schedule. Some of the posts we did went viral on Digg, the SEO was effective, there were traffic spikes from StumbleUpon and traffic build up happened in a matter of a few months. 3 years on in 2013, Digg is barely one of the top social media channels, Google has changed it’s algorithm a number of times and virtually none of the strategies that worked back then, work to that effect today!
The introduction of Googles Panda and Penguin updates virtually turned the science of SEO on it’s head ensuring mass link-building tricks, directory submissions and other short cuts to quick traffic are methods of the past. Not only do they not work, you can actually be punished or blacklisted for over-optimizing or indulging in SEO techniques to quickly boost results. Having a Facebook page with 1000 fans back in the day actually meant anything you posted had a reach of 1000 fans which is no longer true. Facebook has consistently restrained the actual reach of updates on brand or fan pages over the years to encourage paid promotions and it’s currently as low as 8-12%. That means out of your 1000 fans, only 80-120 will actually see an update on your page and you need to pay Facebook if you’d like to extend that reach. Getting Google+ +1’s never meant anything back then but have an influence on what you do now.
Bottom line - The dynamics of the web and what works in terms of marketing something have changed drastically in a very sort span of time.
More importantly, they continue to change, every month, every week and everyday. What worked a few months ago very well, will not work for you now. However, most people have not or will not accept that fact since mindsets don’t change as quickly. As a result expectations of what should be done, how to go about things and what is realistically possible are badly skewed since they based not on current dynamics but past routes others have used to build their web presence. You often find a marketing head or business owner demand instant search traffic, 100’s of links to their website in a month, 1000’s of Facebook fans organically in days, a high Page Ranking in a matter of weeks and requests for “SEO magic” that web marketing unicorn stories are made of. To them, their demands seem perfectly rational since there are real live cases of so many that have used those methods to deliver returns. They cling on to expectations based on what worked then and not what might work now. These are unfounded expectations which won’t see the light of day like believing a one time search optimization effort will instantly lead to success or publishing a blog or having a Facebook page will instantly have people visiting it or liking their page just because there are a lot of people on the web.
All said and done, just because the dynamics of the web keep changing, it doesn’t mean nothing works either. It simply means one needs to be able to change course with these changes, constantly adapting and ensuring expectations align with times.
Those that are open to experimenting, trying different things and adapt with every passing week will eventually stay on top the ever-changing web.