One of the great things about Social Media is that it's allowed people to feel more connected to the world around them. And while there are many advantages of living in a connected world, the one major downside is that it can sometimes feel quite overwhelming because, despite what you've been told, the world is still a pretty big place. With lots of stuff happening. At the same time. All the time.
When Facebook flared into the world, there were groups of people that set out to get as many Facebook friends as possible. It was popularity pageant frenzy, but after years of having to scroll through hundreds of updates from people they hardly know on a daily basis, they've begun to realise that the human brain can only handle so much information before feeling burnt out. Enter Facebook's "Edge Rank" algorithm, serving to filter interactions to only display posts from entities with which you show some measure of engagement with.
Like it or not, social media fatigue has begun to set in for lots of people and the friend-ing, like-ing, share-ing hype is hard to achieve without presenting the Facebook user with tangible value.
According to a study recently conducted by Global Web that compared Facebook usage in July 2009 to July 2011, the frequency of several Facebook activities have declined. Some of these activities include messaging friends, joining groups, searching for new contacts and installing apps. Despite this, Facebook is still one of the most popular websites on the internet. What this tells us is that people aren't actually using social networking sites less. They're just using them differently.
With so much happening online, many users are becoming more selective with what they're engaging with. As a result, they are becoming less likely to 'like', "comment" on and "share" a lot of content. This is particularly bad news for brands, especially for brands that have yet to establish a social media presence. Ifyou haven't started yet and which don't yet have an engaged community built, you may be even further behind than you think.
But while the online world might be becoming more crowded by the day, it is an important place to be and there is plenty of opportunity. All you need is the right strategy, realistic objectives and accept that doing social media initiatives well does require marketing funding and commitment. And if you are looking for a strategy that has been tried and tested, look at Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola's online and social success has depended on their ability to create content that not only adds value to the lives of their fans and followers, but also is strongly tied to their brand essence and principles. According to Wendy Clark, Senior Vice-President of Coca-Cola, they have been able to achieve this by creating content that is both "liquid" and "linked". Watch the video on You Tube.
Clark believes that in order to succeed, content needs to be able to spread to the furthest points possible and the only way to do this is by creating content that your Facebook fans share on your behalf. Unless your content adds value by entertaining, engaging or informing your Facebook fans, the only thing your content will be is ignored. But no matter how far a piece of content spreads, it must always link back to your brand and your strategy so you can complete your objectives.
Facebook users might be suffering from social media fatigue and they might be becoming more selective with the content they are sharing and engaging with, but one thing that they'll never get tired of is value. Research, strategise, plan the work... and then work the plan.