Social media is getting more, well…social. As the world of social media evolves, social platforms are looking for one thing, engagement. Let’s just call “engagement” the word of the day (please say this word at least 10 times today). Engagement drives users to the site, which drives advertising, which drives profits. Listen I’m just being honest here. At the end of the day public companies are responsible to the shareholders, and non-public companies are trying to either become public or get bought out and that means they need more money in their pockets. To get money in their pockets they need advertising revenue, and the advertising revenue goes up as engagement goes up.

OK, OK, OK so what does this mean for you and your business? It means very soon you are going to have to start shifting your social strategy from a passive one to an active one.

In the past it was relatively easy to manage a social account “hands-off”. You could use a software like Hootsuite and schedule all your posts, reply to comments automatically (although not recommended), and build a decent little following with a day of work a week. You could hire some “kid” to run your social campaigns and get good results. I’m sorry to tell you those days are over…

Even Facebook has realized in order to up engagement they have to penalize you for automation, which is exactly what they do (soccer red flag style). Even though organic business posts on Facebook are having a harder and harder time getting engagement, try auto posting with a 3rd party application, you get even less! I wonder if Zuck likes looking at those low engagement stats??? I digress.

So now let’s take a look at the next generation of social platforms coming out, specifically Periscope and Meerkat. Both of these platforms are real time streaming tools that connect with Twitter. What does that mean? It means you have to be there, streaming, in real-time to use it, let alone get any engagement. I love Periscope and, as a matter of fact I will write a BLOG on that next (shameless self promotion), but it is time consuming. And fun fact of the day, Periscope is owned by Twitter, also if you have periscope make sure you follow me, my user name is spburnside (2nd shameless plug in one BLOG post, unbelievable).

Looking at Facebook, Periscope, Meerkat even Pinterest and Instagram which allow very little automation, it is easy to see that the next wave of social is crashing onto the shore, and your time commitment to be effective is going up. These platforms are forcing you to be on the software natively which drives their engagement.

I am a believer in Social Media to drive business, and I know too many companies who just sit back and loose business because they are not keeping up (I mean honestly, stop updating your MySpace account and send those images to Instagram!), it is now time for businesses to decide if they have someone on staff who can handle it or if they need to hire out. Just to be safe, just because someone can log into Facebook and is under the age of 24 does not mean they know how to use social to drive business. Is that too harsh? Maybe, but it is the truth and we need the truth!

Steve Burnside is the Author of “Social Marketing War Room” and owns Burnside Marketing, a Digital Marketing Firm that IGNITES your marketing. Located in Paso Robles, CA, Burnside Marketing serves all of the Central Coast including San Luis Obispo,  Atascadero, Templeton, Arroyo Grande and Santa Maria. Burnside Marketing specializes in websites, social management, video, podcasts and webinars. Steve can be reached at steve@burnsidemarketing.com