Jul 14, 2010

The true danger of social marketing.

I've always been a social marketing sceptic even though I myself have (personal) accounts in all social websites I know of.

One of the reasons why I never trusted social marketing was that I've always had that feeling that whenever something was to go wrong, the back draft would be worse than on any other marketing channel.

Some marketing experts foretold the end of email marketing a couple of years ago, saying Social Marketing would kill it, I still believe it to be false, Email marketing is inexpensive, straightforward and highly efficient (if done properly that is).

The discussion could (and probably will) go on for years (until one of the sides is proven wrong).

However, if we take all marketing channels available online or off-line today, most of them grant the advertiser a total control of the message and the means of diffusion.

The only examples where the control is not entire are affiliation (but you can keep an eye on this) and adwords for sites, but even for those, you remain in control of the marketing message, even though you lose part of your control over where the ad will be displayed.

Now, when it comes to social marketing, you message can be edited, changed, and can be forwarded or broadcasted by people or organizations that can really be at the far opposite of what you want to show to the world.

One funny example came up to me today while I was browsing my facebook account...
One of the things with facebook is that it keeps suggesting you, new friends, new pages, new whatever according to your own friends tastes, friends or what they (facebook) consider as somehow linked to what you like.

This information mix sometimes come up with really weird (but potentially harmful) suggestions when it comes to brands or products pages

Here's a couple of suggested pages I had today:

Example 1 : Competitors

 Not sure, the Assassin's creed facebook page is intended to advertise for another game

Here both are music festivals

Example 2 : Hazardous associations
 Shall Air France be happy to be associated with Barack Obama?

And Amazon to Sarah Palin?

Of course the opposite is true as well, the facebook pages recommended might not be happy to be suggested in relation to something else, but here at least you could argue that they get extra visibility, when the pages I'm already subscribed to have nothing to win there.
The list of examples could have been much longer (and the more pages you are subscribed to, the longer) but what really startles me here is that there's nothing you can really do in this case when you are working at the marketing department of all these brands, it all depends on your "fans".

I'm also surprised that knowing this no one has tried "facebook bombing" yet by creating a high number of fake profiles, subscribing to a brand/product then to a competitor... it might come one day.

1 comment:

SteveL said...

Another victim of social media advertising: http://tinyurl.com/34l9346