The Social Media Bubble Doesn't Exist
News articles have been trending which portray social media as a risky venture for stock holders and businesses. Citing Facebook's disappointing IPO and recent drops in LinkedIn stock, some business experts are arguing that social media, like housing, is a bubble about to burst. Social media has created hundreds of thousands of jobs in recent years. Is social media a risky venture? We can't speak to the future health of your stock portfolio, but we're confident that social media for consumers and small business is here to stay. Here are some reasons why we don't believe in a social media bubble:
Social Media is How We Connect
If your company shies away from social media marketing, you're missing out on the opportunity to build relationships with over 55% percent of the online population. More than half of all people with internet access have exposure to Facebook, and time spent on the social media network accounts for an astonishing 14% of all minutes logged online. Social media has changed the way we communicate with our friends, family and favorite brands and it's unlikely that majority of the Internet population will suddenly decide to abandon social media networks to go back to text messages and phone calls.
It's estimated that mobile devices will outnumber humans by the end of 2012. In late 2011, 1/3 of Americans accessed social media via a mobile device at least once monthly. The fact that 46% percent of American adults and teens are now able to connect on the go means that Internet networking isn't likely going anywhere fast. When it comes to a social media bubble, the only networks that risk blowing up are the ones that fail to release a mobile-friendly platform. It is becoming increasingly easy to gain access to the Internet from nearly anywhere. The dramatic increase in smartphone users makes us extremely suspicious of claims of a social media bubble.
Niche Networks Are Rising
From Quora to Instagram, the social media networks that are growing steadily are the niche networks. Instagram is limited to smartphone owners, while Quora is a question-and-answers community. Internet users everywhere are so used to social media as a means to connect, that the concept of networking has invaded how we find information and even edit our photographs. It would have seemed incredible a decade ago to be able to design our own magazine pages and view our friends' creations, but Scoop.It is experiencing real growth. The fact that the adoption of social media networking has real influence on how we store information and even plan weddings is a strong indicator that the idea of a social media bubble isn't likely to go far.
Search is Social
In business, some concepts will always count. Hearing opinions on products and services will always influence individual purchase decisions. The rise of social search is one indicator that social media networking is too innate for us to put much stock in the idea of a social media bubble. Even a simple search for a local restaurant can bring up your friends recommendations for brands, and nearly everyone has been swayed by their friends' Facebook likes. The Internet is the leading search tool for products and services, and the fact that social media networking influences purchase decisions makes us very suspicious of talk of a social media bubble.
If we could look into the future, we'd be pretty confident that there will be no such thing as a social media bubble. It's a fact that major networks rise and fall, as was seen with the faceplant of Myspace and the dramatic rise of Pinterest in just a year's time. IBM is often cited as a textbook example of a smart brand, because they've proved continuously adaptable in their century-long history. The small businesses that thrive are almost always early adapters and excellent listeners. If you want your brand to stay relevant, listen to your contacts and pay close attentions to trends. In a year, it's entirely possible that Facebook may no longer be king, but social media networking is here to stay. In our opinion, there is no such thing as a social media bubble.