In Our Opinion
Over the past several years online networking and marketing, largely through social media, has exploded.
Just consider how Facebook has changed the landscape of online interaction in the past four years, when it surged in popularity. Non-profits, groups and businesses have flocked to the website, using it to their advantage. But, starting a successful operation can’t be done strictly online.
While social media outlets are continuing to grow, reliance on older methods of initial marketing will likely continue, despite the rapid pace of technology changing before us. In most cases today, the tried-and-true methods still draw the best results.
Everyone knows that the best way to spread the news about a new business is by word of mouth. It’s an invaluable resource that relies on the reputation of a company or service.
Traditional marketing will always have a role to play within companies. Advertising in a local publication will always produce a strong return, since many small town businesses rely on a loyal local base of customers. Local publications are also in that same mix, providing content to an audience in a tightly-knit community.
Being in the news industry, we’ve seen the demise of some larger publications trying to straddle the line between online and print publications. At the moment, there isn’t sufficient revenue, when combined with the online side, to support a publication from the golden era of journalism. Newspaper revenues have been dropping steadily since around 2000, when they hit an all-time high, falling from $60 billion to just above $20 billion, according to members of the Newspaper Association of America.
While using social media is quite prevalent, not all companies are jumping on the trend, nor should they. Just look at Apple as an example. The multi-billion dollar company doesn’t have a Facebook page, nor does it use Twitter.
Social media isn’t going to go away, that’s a certainty. But, neither will basic components of networking.
Back in the late 1880s, people cut blocks of ice out of rivers and lakes and placed them in containers outside the home for various uses. As time progressed, it became easier to obtain the ice and to make it last longer. All of that led to today’s technology of creating ice cubes in our own refrigerator.
The demand for ice hasn’t changed, and it’s still provided to consumers, but the method of serving that demand has.
The same theory applies to networking and online communication. While the main goal hasn’t changed from delivering news and information to consumers, the form it takes will evolve. As with any new technology, there will be some who can become self-proclaimed experts.
Back in the late 1980s, when desktop publishing was on the rise, almost everyone with a computer thought they were a writer. If someone had a blog or website, they were a publisher. That trend continues today, with cameraphones and software like Instagram making many believe they’re photographers.
Just wait until the next big thing comes along.
Whether you’re an avid user of social media, just getting started or don’t dabble in the digital domain, this is an exciting time for technology.