A small, local festival had a small problem … or a big one, depending on how you look at it. Someone had set up a Facebook page about the festival—which was fine, except they’d used the festival logo as the profile picture, giving the impression that they were the “official” page. The webmaster had even received emails saying, “but it says on your Facebook page …”
The festival was now forced to contact the creator of the page, request they remove the logo and state that they are not affiliated with the festival. If the page’s owner chooses to ignore them, the only recourse the festival has is to report the infringement to Facebook, by navigating their tangled web of a “help” center.
Oh, did I mention that you must first have a Facebook account in order to do all this?
Like it or not, businesses are being forced to play in the social media space, simply because people are using it. If you read my previous article about The Apple Death Curse, then you realize social media is a disruptive technology.
Disruptive Technology, Disrupted Marketing
Disruptive technologies are nothing new. You learned about them in history class, when you read about Johannes Gutenberg who, in 1440, invented the first printing press to use movable type.
Up to that point, books were painstakingly hand-made, expensive, and available only to the privileged elite. But Gutenberg’s press changed all that, and books became available to the masses.
That’s what disruptive technologies do—they give people access to things which were previously inaccessible because they are rare, expensive, or difficult to produce.
But it’s a double-edged sword, because they also disrupt the status quo, causing those with power and control to lose it. Just like the festival lost control of its marketing because of a Facebook page started by a well-meaning fan.
In the old days, it used to be much easier, but now, your marketing’s been disrupted. It’s no longer enough to take out some Yellow Page advertising or create a mailer. You may still need to do some traditional marketing, but you also need to be found online.
And just when small businesses began to get comfortable with the Internet, along comes another disruption: social media, and all it’s buzzwords—tweets, likes, hashtags. When does it end?
For the past 100 years, there were two channels of communication between you and your customers: the telephone and face-to-face. Then, came email. Now, there are dozens of channels for customers to interact with you, from creating a Facebook Fan page about your brand, to posting negative comments about you on Twitter or a review site.
And it’s not just the kids doing all that commenting, tweeting, and liking. The largest increase in social media usage over the past year is among those 45 and older. It seems the Baby Boomers (you know, the ones with the most disposable income) have also discovered how to ‘tweet’ and ‘like.’
Is your marketing starting to feel a little more disrupted? I thought so.