Advertising & marketing in social media really can change everything, but firms need to be realistic. Social media is NOT a panacea! Just because you have a Facebook page and Twitter feed does not mean you’re doing it right; quite the contrary, most firms are doing it very, very wrong.
How much time do you spend on Facebook or linkedin on any given day? If you’re like me, not much (if any). A few years ago I might have screwed around on Facebook for maybe 30+ minutes/day but now I check my ever-more-mangled “news feed” and share some interesting articles I’ve read, that’s it. I think I’ve clicked on 2 ads on Facebook ever. I have x’d out dozens of ads that were just sorely uninteresting/irrelevant/etc, though.
I think its interesting that TV commercials are now directing viewers to firms’ Facebook pages rather than to their websites. I get the idea – if people go to your page and “like” you, then you have all sorts of useful demographic info to play with – but I’ve yet to see any of the companies I’ve “liked” on Facebook to do anything useful with my information. I don’t see anything from them tailored to me based on my profile information. Do you? Have you ever?
I’m not sure if this is because these Firms haven’t yet figured out how to do this or because Facebook does not provide the means with which to do so (or some combination of the two), though both are possible, I suppose. Enough about Facebook, I think the firm has already peaked and I look forward to shorting it at some point when it goes public. Sure they’re still growing their subscriber base and revenue is growing but even (semi-former) Facebook addicts like me are spending less and less time on the site every day.
Now, on to Linkedin. When was the last time you logged-into the site? Had I not just created a new profile I think the answer for me would be at least a few months, if not longer. Unless you’re looking for a job or you’re a headhunter, do you actually spend any even remotely meaningful amount of time during a YEAR on Linkedin? Sure, with all of the data linkedin users provide, advertisers can target exactly who they want to advertise to, but if Suzy, a 42-year-old VP at a Consumer Products Company with an MBA doesn’t log-into the site, she ain’t seeing the ad you’ve targeted her for, sorry!
I’m not even going to get to Twitter, because I don’t think the company has figured out yet exactly how they’re going to deliver ads (I could be wrong here though). The best thing firms can do on Twitter is to 1. promptly communicate with your customers/stateholders information they need to know (e.g. flight delays, store closings, sales, etc) and 2. ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE. A corporate twitter feed that just spews-forth information is useless. People use Twitter to ask you questions/raise concerns/air complaints and praise! THAT IS VALUABLE INFORMATION! USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE!
I’d 100% rather work something out over twitter or live chat than make a single phone call to go through 15 levels of verbose and annoying prompts only to talk to “Mike” in Mumbai (or wherever) only to have to explain myself 12 times only to have to do the same thing when I get fed-up and ask to speak to a supervisor, to whom I AGAIN have to re-explain myself.
Twitter is changing everything in customer service, a select few firms get it (Jet Blue isn’t bad, Zappos is probably tops, though), but the vast, vast majority of firms still have their heads buried in the sand, hoping if they ignore social media, it’ll just go away or take care of itself.
Note to C-level Executives: It’s not gonna happen! Get with the program already and don’t half-ass it. You need a dedicated social media team that’s organized so that they’re in constant communication with the rest of the firm so they can share info about promotions, get answers on customer service issues & alert the appropriate manager about the issues, etc. This isn’t rocket science guys and it’s not necessarily just another cost center. In fact, a significant part of Zappos value (to use but one example) comes from their customer-service-oriented culture.
It’s 2011. If any of this is news to you then you need to get up to speed, FAST!
UPDATE: EVERY company needs to be using some sort of software like Scout Labs Lithium program to track their brands across all sorts of social media, I seriously suggest you check out that link and see what’s READILY AVAILABLE, easy to use, and relatively inexpensive.
Another excellent use of social media is Dell (of all companies, I know!) use of Salesforce’s social apps, their Idea Storm site, where customers can make suggestions, community members can vote those suggestions up/down et voila! Management knows exactly what the customers want. No focus groups, no consultants, straight from the horses’ mouth. The software also allows Dell to respond to suggestions and show what action(s) have been taken as a result. To me, that is awesome! Now, whether management actually does anything from these suggestions is a whole ‘nother story altogether…