ByronM - 11:56 am on Oct 5, 2010 (gmt 0)
i am very aware that there are hordes of so called social media consultants who make a living on telling their business customers the contrary, but the bottom line really is: companies are no buddies. they better shut up and only enter the place if i call them. the internet user is an active consumer.
Companies are "buddies" when there is a real identity representing them. Netflix does social media great becuase they communicate their brand to their customers in a way that leverages them but also shows similar interests to them - by obviously talking about movies :)
Sure, if you want to "sell to a new customer" then use the marketing tools provided however if you're not using social media as part of your strategy of keeping customers, networking with customers (silent networking) and interacting with customers then you're missing out on a lot.
The beauty of social networking is that its an instant referal by people who enjoy your brand and are willing to share or identify with it. I have a very few "brands" i've network with but Barnes and Noble is one because they provide coupons, they provide answers, they provide a community interaction. Lowes is another because they list their sales, blogs and community events. These companies don't overtly tell people to network for them, but people trust the brand and share it with your friends and you can't buy advertising like that and it only costs the time of managing the community and nothing else.
If you can't manage the community then don't do it. of course. don't half-ass and make yourself look bad.