Will Thinking Beyond Social, Ruin Social

The business-ification of social may kill our ability to be social at all

by Jason Falls |

The thematic meme running through the social marketing world of late is that we’re about to move beyond social media marketing as a primary practice to thinking more broadly about our marketing and our business. Social is part of a greater whole and social-only thinking won’t get you very far for much longer.

Part of this is driven by the social consultants threatened by those of lesser breadth of experience. Part of it is the reality that the industry is maturing. Social is now part of marketing. Marketing is almost impossible today without social.

But will this assumption that social is just part of what we do turn social into something we forget about?

I can attest that immersing yourself in a vertical or business like, say, online retail, means you start thinking about driving sales, moving the needles on the top- or bottom-line and looking for partnerships and revenue streams and cost savings. You start looking at the resources you’re pouring into social and expecting an immediate financial return for those. Sometimes social is about more than (or other than) direct revenue.

You’ll start expecting an immediate financial return for social

For many businesses, that means they’ll either go through the motions of social without really, genuinely investing the time and energy or they’ll forego social altogether and take the safe, proven routes of search engine marketing, ad spend and other acquisition and sales strategies.

It is true that social needs to be a part of greater thinking about business and marketing if you want to have a mature, optimal approach to contributing to your business’s success. But in doing so, I worry that the “More, Now!” mentality of today’s business will dictate we just forget about being social in lieu of selling more stuff.

What do you think?

About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).