San Francisco–“Facebook Is Dead” was an article 247wallstreet.com posted Dec 15, 2008. That story was dead wrong. Yet, if you were to say that about marketing using Facebook today, you might be right.

Marketing budgets for social media in 2011 are set to see record levels. However, as those budgets rise, the level of effective marketing from Facebook drops. This is not news to anyone in the social media marketing industry. The question to SMO professionals is, what now?

On Sept 2, 2009 AFP news agency’s Ian Sherr posted a story about a sculptor who had used social media to market himself successfully. The editorial was interested in the change social media marketing was having on an age-old industry. The art world has deep rooted unwritten laws about younger artists speaking out of turn.

Ian Wrote, “Reeder maintains that Internet Age innovations not only infuse his art, they are underpinnings of his success, helping him craft a new business model for an industry as old as civilization itself.

Unlike more conservative colleagues, Reeder said he tenaciously uses online tools such as social networking services, blogs and YouTube videos to attract attention and, ultimately, buyers…”

“If you want to see who is going to buy your art in 20 years, look at who is 20 years old now—if you want to stay up to date, and continue to sell your work in the future, you better be on Facebook.”

I am the Sculptor Ian wrote about. From 2007-2009, I told anyone who would listen “Get on Facebook now!” I told artists, art dealers, collectors, Professors, EVERYONE. My assertion was that Facebook was a place people could go which was separate from their normal life. When you logged in, you were in a safe place, defenses down.

With people logged in and defenses down, unknown artists could infiltrate a previously unavailable “cast” of creative people. Normally, it is “verboten” for an artist to approach a critic, art writer, gallery, curator, or collector. You are expected to get in line and wait to be “discovered”.

In 2008, once logged into Facebook with defenses down, these art world “Untouchables” became accessible. I warned everyone that very soon, artists from all over the globe would discover this “glitch in the Matrix” … that Facebook would become saturated with artists.

Back then, I could find an art writer, or collector online, then I would look them up on Facebook. It was effective to send pictures to strangers on Facebook. I would get feedback, sales, press, and a BUNCH of good backlinks. I sent pictures to tech bloggers, and tech writers. Those folks would write about my work, so I would take what they wrote about it, and send that to other writers. Viral marketing ensued.

Getting talked about as an artist is hard. Think about the last time you heard about an artist in the news. Facebook was the key to bypassing all of that.

I warned EVERYONE that Facebook would become saturated. That time has arrived. Facebook isn’t a “safe place” anymore. Spam and unwanted messages have made people just as cautious looking at their inbox, as they are with junk mail in the mailbox.

Today I received ten Facebook messages inviting me to art shows. I received even more “Event invites”. I did not look at a single one of them. I get too many now for it to be practical to do so.

Facebook by itself is no longer an effective business tool for SMO professionals (Twitter and LinkedIn are in the same boat). However, consumers do not want that anymore. They want content. Real things they can use, or interesting things they can share. Regardless, companies will still duke it out with social media in an effort to out tweet, out backlink competitors.

Consumers have only one safe place now… smart phones (mark my words). While on my Android, my defenses are down. I am impressionable to the things my Android tells me I need… for now anyway.

I will give one great example of effective viral content in 2010. The content was the Toyota Sienna brand’s YouTube video “Swagger Wagon”. I personally sent this video to 15 people even though I knew it was a viral marketing tool. The video was brilliant, and people we all too glad to share it.

Companies can no longer impose their marking on social networks. The challenge for SMO professionals now is, to create content consumers willingly share with their own social networks. Tools, videos and information relevant to specific communities of consumers will be the SMO successes of 2011.

The Facebook I used to know may be dead. However, I am excited to see what my fellow SMO folk use to create viral marketing campaigns in 2011.

Adam Reeder,
www.adamreeder.com