Nobody wants a BBQ with a brand

 Customers don't want business gate crashing their parties

Customers don't want business gate crashing their parties

Do customers really want a relationship with a business? With the value of social media now in question, Debby Penton of Wildfire PR explains why we need a rethink. 

The idea of the collapse of the social media giants may seem as impossible now as their meteoric rise did ten years ago, but the reality is that their apparent permanence has never been under greater threat. 

Whether it is the growing momentum behind the #deleteFacebook movement, the reputational damage inflicted by ever more serious privacy scandals, or brands like J.D. Wetherspoon closing all of its social media channels, there are signs all around us that could signal the beginning of a new ‘post-social media’ age.

For brands, the idea of a post-social media world throws up a host of difficult questions. Do increased demands for greater privacy sound the death knell for data-driven marketing approaches? Will the rise of ‘fake news’ bring the value of media coverage into question?

Is social media influence waining? 
These are not questions that brands can afford to leave unanswered. We are already seeing consumers increasingly shy away from brands on social media. Instead, people are treating their feeds less like an open house and more like a close-knit family gathering – creating private WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger groups. They don’t want to go to a family BBQ and have people show up and try to sell to them. 

This is already creating challenges for PR and marketing teams. But the total collapse of social media platforms would be a seismic event – cutting off one of the key lines of communications with customers.

At the moment there are no guarantees that the social media ‘apocalypse’ will happen, but we are clearly in a period of significant flux. As a result, brands need to understand the trends that are currently undermining the global social media platforms. They also need to think seriously about, not only their social media strategies but also about how they might prepare themselves to grasp the opportunities that are sure to arise in a post-social media age if it arrives.

To help businesses make sense of the current confusion we’ve published a new report - Surviving the Post-Social Media Apocalypse.