Social media is dead, long live social media!
BriefLetter - Issue 02/2018

To fully submerge ourselves in the topic of social media, we must look at the internet itself, to understand why consumers do what they do and why social media is of absolute importance to any marketing and sales strategy.
I remember the days of the internet when I sat in computer class and was instructed to use the search engine ‘Altavista’. At that point in time ‘the new thing’ Google wasn’t yet to be trusted, and was most likely to fade away, just like Wikipedia, according to my computer teacher.

This was less than 18 years ago, and times have changed drastically.
Google is THE household name when it comes to using a search engine, people don’t say “let me Bing this’. No, it’s ‘let me google it’.
Wikipedia still isn’t accepted amongst the educational system as a source to reference but it is a fantastic platform to learn about new topics and it has an article on everything and anything. (We will come back to Wikipedia in a later example).
A similar change has befallen Social Media. Apart from its original use as a way to connect with friends, it quickly became another platform for marketers to present materials.
Social media grew and grew and brands had high hopes to discover new target communities or strengthen the ties to their existing ones, by using social media as a two-way communication channel of brand and consumer. In one way or the other, everyone had hopes that this plan would work out, and that customers would provide relevant information about their consumption behavior and habits. What seemed like a safe bet to everyone, burst like a bubble.
So is this a fault of the consumer, the marketer, the social media platforms or all of them together. It is most certainly not the latter. After all, it is called Social Media, users are primarily there to be social.
The entire endeavor of advertising on social platforms hasn’t been made easier by the overlords who control these platforms.
Starting out as mere tools to connect people, the creators of social media platforms soon realized that it was very lucrative creating special business accounts and creating advertising space. Otherwise, how would have Facebook made money? From all the free users? No.
But herein lies the trouble for marketers. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. It doesn’t matter who, they all deem themselves social platforms. They want need users. Because, without users, who are the marketers going to market to?
So the platforms are in a constant struggle to cater to two different types of customers. The users and the brands.
Since their creation the platforms have changed the rules in which brands can engage with the users. This ranges from changing the timelines from chronological order, to a complex algorithm order, which ranks the most liked and frequented sites first in a user timeline. It is even more complicated now. This is usually the point for the most outrage. But not necessarily due to the inconsequence of social media platforms and their complicated problems.
“We keep having to adjust our content to be able to compete” Yes and no to that. Of course you have to switch things up and be creative. This is what the marketing departments have always done. But now, they need to do it at a faster pace, to more frequently changing factors.
“We recently cut x-sum of money out of our social media marketing budget, no change in revenue”. That has nothing to do with your content yet. Although it suggests that your content was never performed in the first place.


Social media is not a place where we learn from consumers. Its where consumers learn from us. And the most recent changes to the Facebook algorithm, as well as Instagrams, prove exactly that point.
Google switched its algorithm five years ago. To promote topic authority. I have written about this before, and I will never get tired of saying it. People will trust you, if you are a reliable source of information. If you happen to sell a product that’s relevant to the topic too and is of quality and performs to the users’ intent? GREAT. You have understood what it means to be an authority.
An authority doesn’t shy back from supporting their own claims by referring to other articles, or content. Compare it to a scientific piece of work. Every dissertation needs enough sources to support its claim.
Let me refer back to the example of Wikipedia. It has topic authority on many things. In a sense. People write articles, and add footnotes to support it. Historical data is necessary.
With that said, let me introduce you to Marketmuse. It’s a tool that helps writers optimize their articles on topics and compares them to existing ones. If I was to write an article about, say, social media optimization and its uses, I will use that tool to insert my article, get a score and see how it stacks up to possibly existing ones. Wikipedia is likely to beat me. Because it has the data of an encyclopedia, not the practical uses. I write with a different purpose than Wikipedia writers do.
I can’t beat Wikipedia but I can be number two in the search result for SMO and its uses. Because people are likely to click on my link in the google result, because (you guessed it) they don’t trust Wikipedia.


Social media is a place to engage your followers. People wander and discover new parts, products and brands. It is not diluting your target community, it is bringing in fresh blood.
It doesn’t matter who lands on your page, if you treat them right, they will treat you right. It sounds dimwittedly simple, but it is. To know your audience will provide the best approach.
“But I don’t learn enough from my audience on social media!” Dead wrong. You are simply looking in the wrong spot and overlooking what is right in front of you.
The digital era is here, it won’t be shushed away, so it is imperative (especially for those who haven’t fully adjusted yet), to catch up.
Everyone is worried about their data, yet they shop on amazon, connect on Facebook, post on Instagram. The connected consumer spends an average of 40+ hours per week in 27 different apps according to a study of Nielsen and statista. That is a workweek spent on a phone.
A consumer will reluctantly give his postal code in a store when buying a pair of shoes, but he or she will gladly accept the fine print of 27 apps, who all source data. But we don’t even have to look at the consumer data. We just have to look at the breadcrumbs they leave behind.
Marketing is the art of captivating the consumer. Other fields of ‘capture’ have used data to their advantage way before. Steve Jobs made it an absolute rule to sell products pre-charged so customers could unbox them and immediately use them. Because it’s our nature of wanting things immediately. Las Vegas casinos add certain scents to the air conditioning and play ‘winning’ sounds over the speakers so visitors produce more adrenalin and less melatonin to keep them from going to bed. This is science at work.
Science is data and data is king. So use it. Your accounts are full of it. Cortex uses AI software to enrich and analyze every single of your social media post, your competitors and 8000 other brands to learn what consumers like, when and where. So you know when to post what and how.
If you leave that work up to humans, you aren’t done examining the results, before the next 3 posts are due. To keep up with so many changing factors, the only thing that can compute so much information is a ‘computer’. It needs a machine to understand the machine. Don’t be an analog player in a digital world.

Philip M. Schürrle, MBA, Boston

SchmidPreissler SchmidPreissler Strategy Consultants

Specialized in consumer goods related industries, trade and investments.

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The 7-Elements-Definition©
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The ”Enlightened” Consumer©
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The BrandEquity + Performance Program©

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Editor: Dipl. Soz. Maximiliana Schürrle

SchmidPreissler International Strategy Consultants GmbH
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