You would be hardpressed to speak to any marketer or consumer nowadays who might dispute the power of social media and social media marketing. While COVID-19 made digital outreach an absolute necessity for brands globally, now that the world is more or less settling down, you may find that there are still some brands and companies who have not received the memo:

The digital landscape has irreversibly changed. Competition is steep, and companies who have a social media presence need engagement, impressions, and relevant content to remain top-of-mind with their potential customers.

In my industry – the toy industry – there are several big-name brands that continue to live (nay, flourish) in the minds of consumers. Companies like Cabbage Patch Kids and Micro Machines are two such examples. As an eighties baby, I grew up on these toys, and they will always hold a special place in my heart.

However, some of these big-named brands are finding it difficult to make the necessary pivot into the digital age, firmly believing that social media marketing requires nothing more than a simple snapshot of a toy and a quick social media upload. Do you even need a caption? The concept of digital messaging and most importantly, virality in the age of viral platforms like TikTok and SnapChat fall on deaf ears.

One potential process that can disrupt the toy industry is if toy companies not only embrace social media and social media marketing, above and beyond pairing up with influencers who can promote their products. They can create toys that have some sort of element to them that is positioned to be viral. Squishmallows did this perfectly, and the timing – though coincidental – could not have worked out better in their favor. When consumers were stuck at home in quarantine, Squishmallows increased their social media budget and engagement, increased their UGC posting, and along with a robust digital strategy, helped catapult the squishy toys into absolute toy stardom.

Despite the wealth of evidence that exists that social media marketing does create ROI – that marketing isn’t just an expense – you might find certain toy brands (names not to be revealed) that believe leveraging the power of social media isn’t necessary. Toy brands that were wildly popular in the 80s are finding themselves in a tough situation: knowing that they are losing out to the competition in both sales and brand awareness, and an inability to face reality.