Patricio Robles of eConsultancy takes a look at the success of some recent social media campaigns—and the results aren’t exactly as inspiring as they might seem at first glance. For example, he looks at a recent JetBlue campaign on Facebook, where they saw a “massive” response (in ClickZ’s words).
But the biggest challenge facing that campaign wasn’t getting people to fork out the bucks for discount plane tickets—it was getting them to believe the $10 fares were for real.
Um, if all it’s going to cost is one click and a minute or two to figure out if you can really get a plane ticket for $10, is that exactly a high barrier to clicking? And then, once the $10 last-minute fares were real (in honor of JetBlue’s 10th anniversary), sheesh, why not buy a few?
Does that really constitute success? Says Patricio:
I apologize in advance for the sarcasm here, but it increasingly seems that a growing number of marketers have decided that the fastest way to achieve ‘social media success‘ is to:
1. Give away or significantly discount product.
2. Promote the free or significantly discounted product on sites like Facebook or Twitter.
3. Publicize the warm consumer response while acting surprised that consumers were interested in said product.
If this social media marketing ‘strategy‘ seems absurd to you, that’s because it is. Unfortunately, it seems to be a growing trend amongst marketers.
Patricio also points to another airline’s campaign, where Virgin Airlines sold 500 tickets at a 50% discount in a Twitter Promoted Tweet campaign. Which, he says, is “Something, of course, that it almost certainly could have done using just about any advertising platform.”
And of course, the biggest problem with this is the giveaway model isn’t sustainable. JetBlue can’t survive on $10 fares all the time. While some of the customers who got $10 fares will probably look at JetBlue’s ticket prices for their next trip, if JetBlue doesn’t have the lowest fare, they’ll move on. And if their experience with the $10 fare isn’t good, JetBlue just cost itself a lot of money to lose a customer.
Social media does have a place in marketing—but “success” probably shouldn’t be measured by loss-leader sales.
What do you think?