This post was first shared on SocialFresh
How many organizations have established a methodology to prioritize social media channels like Facebook
, or blogging
? Fast-growing social media channels attain media hype, which drives inflated expectations, excitement, and - unfortunately - guides our hand. We should be prioritizing resources based on ROI, customer use, and traffic volumes.
Growth -> Hype -> Misguided Priority
Social media channels attain hype based on growth rates, even when their total penetration amongst the target audience is low. For example, Google + experienced a spike in initial hype for getting 10 million users in only 16 days.
That's enough growth to make headlines, but still less than one percent of the earth's population, which just hit
7 billion. There's been plenty of stories
about Twitter's phenomenal growth rate over the years, but even now only 13% of online adults use Twitter
. You can blame the media and the internet for fostering shiny object syndrome, but change is what makes it news, not value. We need to learn how to tell the difference and prioritize on ROI.
I'm not advocating corporations abandon Twitter, but challenging readers to ask the question, "are we prioritizing based on hype?" Wikipedia
is the 5th or 6th largest website
in the world by traffic. Articles on Wikipedia show up in the top ten search results of 95% of all searches and about 50% of internet users use Google in any given day. ReadWriteWeb praised
something called ://URLFAN as an influence index on the Web; an index that has identified Wikipedia as the #1 most influential website on the internet. Wikipedia is up with YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as one of the top websites in the world, yet many organizations with dozens of Twitter handles, Facebook pages and YouTube channels have never even read their Wikipedia article. Google searches for the top 5 largest companies
in the world reveal Wikipedia pages as one of the top results on each one. Why has Wikipedia fallen off the corporate agenda, while Twitter sits on a pedastool?
Barrier to Entry
One reason is the barrier to entry. A blog can (technically) be setup in hours and a Twitter handle in minutes. On these platforms no formal rules for good content are established, collaboration or agreement with other members is not required, and few challenging new skills are required in comparison. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube don't mandate consensus or agreement with other members. There's no rules. Wikipedia is said to have more rules than any one person knows, marketing content is often met with public lambasting and success requires genuine community collaboration. New skills like coding in Wikipedia's HTML-style code are needed. It's not as easy to just jump in and learning how is often met with some humiliating obstacles. Wikipedia requires compliance with policies, because you share a Wikipedia article with a community rather than owning a handle, URL or page.
Wikipedia is over 10 years old. The growth rate in number of articles on Wikipedia reached its peak
years ago. It's traffic growth rate is basically stagnant
. That's because it's already established. It has no hype, because it's not growing, it's already grown up.
I would like to challenge readers to take a moment and think about it. Are marketing priorities being created based on hype instead of value? Are you overlooking Wikipedia, because it's too hard to learn? Why is Twitter or Facebook such a priority, while Wikipedia goes unnoticed? Are you over-investing in shiny objects? Why have we invested in large, fragmented, unmanageable social sites that can take years to build a following and grow SEO, when a hand-full of rule-bound, manageable, community built pages already top the search tools we know all our constituents use every day.