Study reveals social media’s potential for misuse

Google alerts sent me a link today dated December 8, 2010 whose headline read "Study reveals social media brand marketing potential". I clic...

5 Jan 2011 2869 Views

Google alerts sent me a link today dated December 8, 2010 whose headline read “Study reveals social media brand marketing potential“. I clicked through to find an article talking about the power of social media as a traditional advertising media. It was from a report titled The Faces of Social Media from Knowledge Networks and MediaPost Communications. With respect to the report and its publishers, I would maintain that social media is among the poorest of advertising media.   

 

Most of the press releases (e.g. Leveraging social mediaAs An Ad Medium, Social Media Now On Par With VOD, HDTV) which spun off from the report talk about the 15% of social media users who claimed “they are more inclined to purchase from brands that advertise on social media sites”. In that sense, I think the survey misses the point of social media all together. 

Social media banner ads

 

Instead of drawing on social media’s native potential as a pull-oriented inbound marketing resource this interpretation approaches social media from the traditional push model where social media is simply used as a conduit to interrupt and deliver a message that will be fairly irrelevant to most recipients. In that regard, I’d advise marketers to be more wary of the 85% of social media users who would not be inclined to purchase from brands that advertise on social media sites than the 15% who are. 

If the only potential social media offers brands is another vehicle for banner ads then we are all doomed. Fortunately, that is not the case. Using social media today as a vehicle to deliver banner ads is like buying a Model T Ford in 1908 and then hitching a horse to the front of it. Sounds absurd, but it would be a natural inclination for rural folk of the era who had never heard of these newfangled horseless carriages. 

I would suggest that anyone compelled to get into social media based on the findings of this report spend a little time familiarizing themselves with this newfangled media. Then try an entirely different approach: Instead of “using” social media try participating in it. I promise you the results will be a lot more rewarding for both your brand and your customers. 

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Sean Duffy | @brandranter
Speaker, consultant & founder of Duffy Agency, the flipped digital agency that provides accelerated growth to aspiring international brands.