Why You Should Ignore the “Next Big Thing” in Social Media

Why-You-Should-Ignore-Next-Big-ThingRemember QR codes? Google+? Ello?

All of these were “the next big thing in marketing” where marketers started investing their time and $$ in new social networks ahead of user adoption.

Marketers seem to believe that there is a first-mover advantage – if they get on the network first they’ll have an advantage and grow their audience bigger faster. So they jump in and invest their time and effort – even before people actually use the network.

Meet your Customers Don’t Beat Them

Unless your goal is to show innovation (which only really matters for tech or social media companies) you don’t need to beat your customers to using something. Meet them. Be where your customers are.

Wait for Some Significant User Adoption

Wait until you see that a significant number of people in your target audience is using something before you jump in and invest your time and effort. People started slapping QR codes on everything despite the fact that most people didn’t have the slightest clue how to use them.

QR codes had faster marketing adoption than user adoption and were ultimately a huge flop.

Optimize vs. Expand

You have limited time, money and resources. Use them wisely. Expanding into new and largely unproven networks takes your valuable resources. Instead of jumping in to something new, consider the results you could achieve from doing what you already do better. Evaluate the pros and cons of each.

Most New Networks Fail

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the reality is that most shiny new objects never reach mass adoption. Wait until you see real traction on a network – most of them will fail and you’ll waste lots of time.

It Takes Time to Get Big

Social networks don’t suddenly explode – they grow over time. Pinterest, which still seems like a new network was founded in 2011. It didn’t get big out of nowhere. There was a slow steady climb to reach mass adoption.

Get Over Your FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

You won’t miss anything if you aren’t the first on something new. You’ll actually save yourself time and effort by waiting until there are some established best practices and case studies. Let other people experiment and learn from them.

You don’t need to be on the next big thing in social media. You need to be strategic and be where your customers are.

Marketing Strategy: Optimization vs. More



Many businesses that I work with are looking for strategies to get more traffic, more followers, more likes.

They want to grow their footprint and reach more people.

One thing to consider is whether or not your time is better spent getting more or optimizing what you already have.

What gets you a better ROI:

  • Spending time/$$ to get 100 new website visitors or turning more of your existing website visitors into customers?
  • Getting more Facebook fans or driving engagement with current fans?
  • Reaching more people or making sure that your message actually grows your business?

The point is that we sometimes focus too much on more when we aren’t even getting results with what we already have.

As marketers it is important to weigh the investment of time/$$/other resources spent on growth vs. optimization. Figure out how to build a system that works before you spend money driving people to something. Get a conversion strategy for your site to turn visitors into leads before getting more traffic.

Carefully weigh your options – often optimization provides a better ROI than growth.

What is the Next Big Thing in Social Media?


It isn’t a shiny new object.

It isn’t the newest social network that social media marketers join in an attempt to get first mover advantage.

It isn’t Google+, Ello, Peach or whatever else people are buzzing about.

The next big thing in social media is innovation from the existing social networks.

It isn’t about finding something shiny and new. It is about optimizing and improving on the sites that you already use.

This is the next big thing.

This is where you’ll get better results faster.


Marketers: Don't Forget How REAL, NORMAL People Act

I came across a really interesting infographic article this week about how marketers and advertisers differ from the average population.  It probably isn’t a surprise that marketers use social media more and are more active on newer sites, but they also pay more attention to brands on social media.  Given this, it isn’t surprising that marketers think that it is important for businesses to participate on social media more so than “normal” people do.

Stop Vomiting QR Codes at Me; Normal People Dont’ Use Them.

The mass adoption of QR Codes in marketing is a perfect example of this.  It seemed that everywhere you turn these days there is a QR code, typically with no compelling reason as to why I should scan it. Only 5% of consumers have actually scanned a QR code recently.  Marketers are flocking to QR codes, but their love of the new medium is not shared by consumers.

As marketers, it is important to consider the actual usage habits of the audiences we want to reach.  Most people don’t scan QR codes.  Why waste your limited print space with a call to action that few people know what to do with and even fewer will actually do.

Remember How Normal Humans Act.  They Are NOT Super Users.

Regular people don’t love to adopt new technologies or connect with brands because they do interesting things on the internet.  Regular people like brands on the internet because they like them in real life.  They don’t want to try every new social network (like Google+ or Spotify).  They watch TV on a TV.  They don’t want to follow brands on Twitter.

They want to discover what interests them, and sometimes that comes from a company.

Enjoy this Infographic – The Last Section is Hysterical.



Stop Vomiting QR Codes at Me

Seriously. They are everywhere. They are annoying (because they are overused and misused). They serve no purpose most of the time. Most people don’t know how to use them.

Stop vomiting them on everything.

Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

QR codes can be seen everywhere, from freeway billboards, to TVs to T-shirts to business cards to soda cans.  They are now beginning to appear on packaging and in magazines. The chart below shows where consumers report seeing QR codes.

They are quickly everywhere.  The question is……

Do People Know How to Use QR Codes?

The short answer is “not really”.  Only about 50% of the population has heard of a QR code (although based on the recent surge of them you would have to live in a cave not to have seen one).

Only 28% of the population has ever scanned a QR code.

Those who have scanned QR codes report very infrequent scanning, with 80% scanning something once a month. So, even if people are scanning QR codes, it may be more out of curiosity vs. a consistent consumer behavior.

Just Because You CAN Doesn’t Mean You SHOULD. Ask Yourself WHY.

Here is the thing.  A QR code is just a simple way to access information. Rather than posting a web address, a QR code allows someone to scan a bar code with their phone as a way to call up information.

If you are using QR Codes, here are some tips not to suck at it

  • Provide a clear value proposition of WHY someone should scan your code
  • Provide an alternative for the majority of people who don’t scan
  • Make sure that it is scanable (for example on TV they don’t scan, and some billboards are too big to scan)
  • Use them in times/places where people have their phone
  • Be sure that you are bringing them to relevant content that they would want on the go or at that moment
  • Don’t use it instead of providing actual websites/information

Here are some Examples I’ve seen of Useful and Helpful QR Codes

  • To provide more information at an open house
  • On a for sale sign to get more information
  • At a music festival to get a schedule
  • At the zoo to get more info on the animals
  • On a menu to see the dish being prepared
  • Bestbuy included a QR code reader into their mobile app
  • QR codes to create augmented reality opportunities

Here are some videos with cool QR code usage.

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