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Prior to Facebook's IPO, a survey asked Americans what they thought of the world's largest social network. The results: more than half believe it's little more than a passing fad.
While there's only so much marketers will be able to do if Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networks start to wane in popularity, they may be able to give consumers fewer reasons to tire of their favorite social sites. Here are five ways they can do it.
1. Focus on quality, not quantity
One of the greatest things about most social channels is that they make distributing a message to a large number of people a relatively quick and easy process. That, coupled with the fact that it's hard to stand out, often encourages marketers to push more messages into the social mediasphere than they can and do in other channels.
But that's not always a good thing. If you don't want consumers to think your brand is creating the kind of fatigue-inducing noise that increasingly permeates services like Facebook and Twitter, saying more less often may be a better approach.
2. Adopt a less is sometimes more approach to social channels
Facebook and Twitter are frequently seen as can't miss social channels. And for good reason: they're mainstream and have massive audiences. But what about newer social channels like Pinterest? In some cases, for some marketers, these may be very productive (perhaps more productive than Facebook). But that's not always the case and marketers should be cautious about the number of social channels they're active in.
3. Analyze, analyze, analyze
The question of whether social delivers ROI largely continues to plague marketers, but that doesn't mean that there's no data for marketers to analyze. There is plenty, and even though there may be few hard and fast rules about what it all means in a general sense, that shouldn't stop marketers from trying to discern what they're doing right, and what they're doing wrong.
In other words, once marketers know what parts of their social initiatives consumers 'like', they can reduce the parts of those initiatives that consumers like less, which should, in theory, help reduce the number of reasons consumers have to tune out social media altogether.
4. Remember that timing is everything
A recent study conducted by Buddy Media found that many brands are not using social to communicate with consumers at the times consumers are most receptive to their messages. That, for obvious reasons, is a real problem because oftentimes the only difference between an effective message and an annoying message is the time at which it was delivered.
5. Be strategic about social calls to action
If some consumers are tiring of social media, many marketers arguably have themselves to blame. After all, calls to action that seek to drive consumers to social channels have skyrocketed in number in the past several years. In moves that harken back to the days of AOL keywords, some brands now promote their Facebook Pages and Twitter handles above their own website URLs. And let's not forget social sharing buttons, which are literally plastered everywhere.
While it's important for brands to make consumers aware of their social presences if they're going to invest heavily in them, the incessant social calls to action may very well be contributing to social fatigue. This should give marketers a reason to think more strategically about when and where they employ them.