There is a big debate going on in marketing circles about the effectiveness of social media especially since recently released YouGov research shows that social platforms are not necessarily the advertiser’s friend.
‘……. brand marketeers and media owners need to be mindful of new targeting models with just under half (47%) of the UK online population, who use social media services, stating that they positively do mind seeing ads on social media services that are based on their profile activities’
Surprised? I certainly am not. We only like to be prompted to buy when it suits us and social media for some brands is just not the place. But does this make social media a no go area for companies to generate business? Well in my opinion absolutely not. What is wrong is treating this channel as you would others. You can put up offers in a shop window to entice people in without it being a least bit annoying because you are communicating with customers when they are already in shopping mode. But if you went round to someone’s house and knocked on their door to tell them to buy your product while they are trying to have a conversation with family and friends they would more than likely throw you out on your ear. You can mail information, offers and vouchers to people because they will look through their post when they are ready to and therefore it is not intrusive but a flashing ad that pops up on a screen when someone is looking through their friend’s new posts is more than annoying it is rude.
So how should social media be used for growing revenue? If you ask anyone what the greatest advantage of social media is I am sure they would say something along the lines of the sharing information on a wide range of things quickly and easily and being able to communicate with those you wish to communicate with worldwide for almost zero cost – but most importantly all under their own control. So a business or brand that intrudes into this social space without permission will not win a lot of new friends. They need to share information and create a relationship with the consumer first, building loyalty and engaging on the user’s terms. Just throwing up ads is lazy, building a presence and capturing fans involves more than grabbing profile information and bombarding people with a message it starts with getting permission to communicate with people in their ‘social’ space and to do that you need to win them over showing them that the relationship you want to build with them is worthwhile.