Four Social Media Questions You Must Answer During an Economic Downturn

Most of my readers are interactive marketing professionals, they are experimenting, using, or living in the social media world –for some, it’s part of their very being and defines them professionally, and personally.

Social Media (which has gained popularity in the last few years) has never stared down an economic downturn, My CEO sees at least three to four quarters of reduced technology spending, and Chris Kenton sees even a more dire situation.

Four Social Media Questions You Must Answer During an Economic Downturn Whether you’re a CEO of a social media company, a professional blogger, or a community manager at a large corporation, you’d better be able to answer the following questions:

1) Is social media usage going to increase or decrease during a recession by consumers? In the last tech bust, I remember many tech professsionals going back to school, becoming real estate agents, or fleeing silicon valley, will migratory usage patterns evolve in social media? Yet even if usage of these tools increases, yet do these consumers have buying power?

2) Will brands and marketers increase spending on media that is generally unproven? Blog network Gawker recently laid off staff in anticipation of advertising dollars dried up, the key word here is anticipation, it hasn’t fully hit yet. Anecdotal case studies are available everywhere about social media, but hard ROI measures are hard to find –will marketers lean on the guaranteed 1-5% return on traditional advertising?

3) Will these be tools to improve communiation and collaboration within the enterprise? Time to think internally here, with travel prices going up, companies reduce travel plans, will these tools increase productivity, or will face to face meetings still prevail? Are these tools effective in communication beyond the ‘shiny’ factor?

4) Will the economic downturn force efficiencies to occur by shedding companies that lack innovation? The dot com bust was considered a market correction, is it now time to get rid of the new wave of dot coms that are missing vowels? or are the operating costs just too inexpensive that they will still thrive –and keeping markets crowded.

I’ve lightly weighed both sides above, I have my ideas, but would love to hear your thoughts below, I’ll state mine too.

Update: this post by James Duthie has thorough analysis, a must read.