Posted January 10, 2012 10:00 am by with 4 comments

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I think we are starting to head into a very good direction with regard to social media and its impact on business. We are moving away from the irrational exuberance (read: overselling) of its impact by those in the Valley toward a more realistic perspective of just what impact social media can have on brands. That is healthy since it is best to find where the balance lies in almost every situation in order to find a strong and likely more lasting solution.

A study from AYTM Market Research (I don’t know who they are either) and reported by eMarketergives some insight into just how important social media can be regarding brands. The first chart talks about Facebook.

Just over 40% of Facebook users surveyed talk about brands be it positively or negatively. Apparently almost the same numbers hold true for Twitter as well. Basically, the majority isn’t using these forms of social media to talk about brands, at least not yet. Since people who sell services around social need to sell deals they are out promoting the concept that EVERYONE is doing it. Just not true and that is why businesses need to do some serious research to understand exactly where their client base is and if social is a good investment of increasingly larger portions of their marketing budget. In some cases it absolutely is while in others not so much. Simply put, it’s not a silver bullet and may not even be needed on a large scale by many.

As for brand discovery, this is very interesting.

Traditional media and good old fashioned word of mouth rules the day. Now the question I have is regarding word of mouth. Is word of mouth from a trusted source THROUGH a social media channel considered the same way? If we are talking about measuring social media recommendations for brands coming from untrusted sources then, of course, the numbers will be lower.

What we are really talking about here is just how anonymous someone’s social media interactions are in that they are talking with folks they really don’t know well enough to take a recommendation from vs. having a social media conversation with a real friend. I talk with more “old” friends, friends I knew in another part of my life, more than ever before through FB etc. I don’t like the “quantity over quality” approach to social so my online interactions are more with peple I trust. Going out and trying to “discover” new things through people I don’t know is silly to me (maybe not to you which is fine too, so relax).

As marketers we have to start to be more granular in our approach to social and any marketing channel. The idea of one size fits all is easy but completely false. Social means different things to different people thus meaning different things to different businesses and those marketing those businesses. Bottom line is, it ain’t easy although you might get that impression from many who stand to benefit from everyone diving in without looking first.

So what’s your opinion here? Is social media being given too much credit? Is it simply evolving and will ultimately match the current hype? let’s hear it pilgrims becasue as we always say, you are the experts after all.

  • I do not think social media is overrated. I think a smart marketer knows that social media is one more tool to use to get customers into the sales funnel. Smart marketers use a variety of methods to accomplish this, but most importantly, they have a plan for how they will engage with their new social media followers and leads. It doesn’t do you much good to have a lot of followers if you don’t have a sales strategy in place for conversion. Of course, how a person would execute this varies by business category, but social media is a great way to “warm up the cold call.”

  • I liked the article. I believe word of mouth is alive and well and is important for business. Having said that this means that customer follow-up and service is still imperative for your business and businesses should not replace great service with managing social media.

  • Social media isn’t overrated, it’s just harder than it seems. SM has been sold as being the panacea for marketers. Now everyone can get their message out there and build strong brands with very little money.
    Well, it’s not that easy.
    For SM to be worthwhile, it has to be part of an overall marketing strategy that includes offline and online efforts.
    Whatever strategy is chosen, one must understand that sustainable success is built slowly, overtime. There’s no such thing as an overnight success in SM.
    Well, except for cute kids and cats on Youtube! lol

  • I don’t think social media is overrated. What I do think is overrated are the expected short term results. Social media marketing is just as much hard work as SEO if you’re not a real vocal person. There’s also a science to this. You can’t just start up an account and talk about random things and expect to see your bottom line soar. So that’s what I think. Social media is an excellent marketing tool, but the short term expectations must be realistic.