Off The Social Rails

One of the things I made a note to rant about was some data that came out of the 2013 Doremus Decision Dynamics study.  This is an annual survey of senior marketing executives and one of the things it found is that these folks aren’t that enthusiastic about social media marketing.  In fact, 51% of respondents feel that advertising in social media is more intrusive than advertising in a magazine or newspaper, while only one-third believe that a social media presence enhances a company’s reputation.  I find  a certain amount of irony in those results since the respondents are, in most cases, the people responsible for their company’s efforts in social.  If those efforts are lacking, maybe we ought to think about it for a second before we shoot the messenger?

My thinking is that marketers don’t like any medium they can’t really control.  Social media is a mirror and I suspect that a certain portion of the negativity about social is the result of some poor effort on the brand‘s part which is just being reflected.  As we used to say in TV, “due to circumstances beyond our control” Facebook pages get hijacked, Twitter feeds get overwhelmed, and other channels are filled with comments from consumers that may not be on brand message (to say the least).  Yes, ads in social are more intrusive but unlike those other media they’re not viewed as welcome because they’re not easily avoidable.  Which is entirely the point.

Social media evolved as ways for people to connect with one another.  Smart brands spotted that and began to use the various social channels to interact.   They listened and replied when appropriate with useful  helpful information.  In other words, brands became humanized and engaged in conversation.  At some point, it went off the rails and social became just another place to fire up the ad megaphone.  This is the equivalent of using a shoe to drive a nail.  It might work but it’s clearly not as effective as using the right tool in the right way.

I’m not surprised most marketers don’t think social is helpful.  It’s resource intensive, it’s out of their control to a large extent, and most are using it badly.  Would you agree?

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