Sturgeon’s Law & Social Media Marketing
Most small business owners are familiar with Pareto’s Law which essentially states that 80 percent of your profit or productivity comes from 20 percent of your labor. Of course, Pareto’s Law also holds true for social media marketing but today we want to cover a much more elusive law. One that is unfamiliar to the majority of small business owners and social media consulting firms alike; Sturgeon’s Law – also known as Sturgeon’s Revelation. Unlike Pareto’s Law, Sturgeon’s Law provides an apt description of the dichotomy confronting social media marketing and small business perception.
Sturgeon’s Law Defined
So, what is Sturgeon’s Law? Originally coined by Theodore Sturgeon, an American Sci-fi writer, it essentially states (and we quote) “ninety percent of everything is crap”. Okay, admittedly this is a bit stark for a professional description but there is a lesson to be learned. Sturgeon’s revelation came about as a defense against what the author believed to be unfair criticisms of the sci-fi field. According to Sturgeon…
“I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud. Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.”
Sturgeon’s Law & Social Media
The same rationale may be applied to social media marketing. It’s not uncommon to encounter criticism and overt examples of shoddy social media marketing, poor work-ethics, inferior results and even outright stupidity in any emerging field. Only a fool would argue against the facts and since most small business owners aren’t foolish, the obvious conclusion is to avoid social media marketing entirely. It’s a bad decision based upon faulty assumptions. Yes, some areas of social media marketing are improperly performed but that is true of each and every form of marketing and advertising out there. In fact, it’s true of every industry and business type. That is the rationale behind Sturgeon’s Law.
Sturgeon’s Law, which states that 90% of everything is crap, applies to social media marketing the same way it does science fiction as a writing genre. Critics that claim the entire industry is inferior based upon the worse examples of the field entirely miss the point! The same way science fiction is a legitimate genre in and of itself, so is social media marketing. By only comparing the worst examples in any industry, critics attempt to justify the decision to remain with “tried and true” or “traditional” marketing techniques. There isn’t anything wrong with traditional methods – other than the fact they just don’t work like they did in years past.
Imagine the impact on a corporation that never made the transition from radio to television simply due to the fact that 90 percent of television shows were “crap”….a common sentiment among critics of the newly emerged technology. The same was said of websites just a few years ago. The fact is, every emerging technology – just like any emerging genre of writing – faces vocal critics. Writing off an entire industry simply because of inferior examples would eliminate the majority of established venues as well as emerging ones. How many times have you personally listened to a radio commercial that made you cringe or switched channels to avoid a television commercial? Despite these short-comings, few people fail to recognize the value provided by major media outlets even though they are losing viewership. In fact, some forms of traditional marketing – like newspapers and print magazines – are in such bad shape many experts are unsure of the long term viability of the advertising method.
Up From Here
One thing every small business owner should keep in mind is the popularity of social media marketing…despite the 90 percent of “crap”. Let’s just accept that there is a lot of room for improvement within the industry as a whole – does that negate the value of social media marketing? Hardly! In fact, it actually supports the continuation even more stringently. According to research conducted by ComScore, Facebook alone reaches three out of every four Internet users who spend an average of more than 7 hours each month on the site! So, how does this compare to other formerly criticized technologies like television? At its peak, television viewership hit roughly 2 hours per day…after decades! In comparison, social media didn’t even exist a mere 7 years ago and is already approaching the halfway mark in terms of actual direct user engagement. What about science fiction? We all know that mega hits like Star Wars not only were tremendous blockbusters but transformed the entire culture. Science Fiction – once considered a literary wasteland – is now one of the most popular genre’s in both book sales and movies.
The Future of Sturgeon’s Law & Social Media
So, what does the future hold for Sturgeon’s Law and social media marketing? Well, we think the future is bright especially for those that already reside in the much coveted Top Ten Percent! Remember, even if 90% of everything is crap – 10% still isn’t and that 10% holds the key to small business success. When evaluating the role of social media marketing, don’t listen to the naysayers that quote examples of failure and frustration – instead, look at the potential profits being earned each and every day by those that are doing it right!