social mediaGone are the days when companies and marketers handed visiting cards to their prospective customers. Today, it is the ‘Follow me on Twitter’, ‘Find me on Facebook’, or ‘Google+ me’ generation of corporate’s and marketers, and this trend is only getting more viral with each passing day. Companies are vying with one another to make the most of the Internet real estate and social is the mantra not only to enhance personal relationships, but to augment corporate marketing and sales efforts as well.

Social networking sites have suddenly gained prominence in the last few years, particularly after the creation of Facebook, the God of all social media. With its enormous growth over the years, it is rightly so that should it be a country, Facebook would be the third largest in the world, with a growing population of 750 million dwellers. Facebook started the trend, and other social networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Groupon continued it, taking this whole aspect of ‘socializing’ to a whole new level. So is social media in its current form just a bubble that’s growing beyond control, all set to burst someday? Is it just an earthly hype that will one day vanish as quickly as it sore to the sky? The answer is both a yes and a no.

Social media is an effective marketing tool for B2B and B2C, and marketers and companies should treat it just as such. Today, the emphasis on social media alone as a marketing tool is spelling out doom for its adopters. Integrate social into your company’s overall marketing mix and you can reap rich rewards like a wider outreach, lower costs of campaigns and operation, personal interaction with your target customers, and a guaranteed lead conversion rate if you adopt correct and smart strategies.

While its efficacy as a cost-effective marketing tool cannot be undermined, it is necessary that for a successful social media campaign to succeed, it has to be underpinned by a sound and workable strategy. There are several cases of companies losing their share of the market due to a poorly structured social strategy. In their hurry to be part of the social rat race, companies and marketers either jump into social media without fully understanding its nuances, or hire half-baked self-proclaimed ‘social media experts’ to handle their campaigns. Added to this is the heavy VC funding that’s been pumped into social media. Social sites are being ridiculously overvalued and will continue to be, until people get fed up of putting up their private lives on public display and go into a ‘social detox’ mode.

Eventually, even if this bubble does burst, the companies that will survive will be the ones that have incorporated social as a part of their inbound marketing and created a sound social media strategy. The rest may have risen slowly with the bubble, but are bound to crash the minute this bubble throws up.