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Is all this Facebook/Twitter Marketing Stuff a Scam?

12:13 pm on Jan 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I saw a car manufacturor pushing their Twitter page ... they must have spent tens of thousands on front page Yahoo ads, Google PPC and press releases trying to get people to sign up to their Twitter feed. I watched it run, and at the end of the campaign there were less than 400 subscribers.

It just doesn't make any sense to me. I could be doing it wrong, but the people that sign up to my Facebook or Twitter feeds/pages are people already interested in my company/products/services.

Facebook and Twitter is just duplication of information/offers that are found on my website, in my RSS, in my forums, in newsletters etc. etc.

Sure, if I were an ad agency, I could track the clicks from Facebook or Twitter and show a nice big conversion rate that would impress myself. But that figure means nothing to me ... it hasn't increased sales, those purchasers would have found out about what I said on FB/TW anyway.

Would Apple's Facebook or Twitter page have increased sales of the iPad? (Wouldn't people just be buying it even if Apple made no sales pitch at all?)

Can Facebook or Twitter ever be responsible for generating sales I would not have made anyway?

I'm sure that some ad exec got paid a small fortune for pushing that car manufacturors Twitter page, and I'm sure that he had some great "branding" stats and figures for the company once it was complete. I honestly can't see how it would have done them any good though.

Some explain this to me please. Is social marketing just a scam service? Any actual definitive data anywhere (not the "intangible" stuff I get emailed ten times a day about).

10:26 am on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I agree that much of the social media hype is rather hollow and lacks a solid foundation.

That doesn't mean there isn't a place for social media marketing. Sites like twitter & facebook are often the default online destinations for many people, so a strong presence there can help your company.

The key imho is to adapt your company's 'voice' to the medium. A corporate website talks to its users in an often formal, business-like tone. On a facebook page a company can be a bit more personable and personal, while on twitter a company can post tweets about many things related to its industry that may not necessarily be appropriate for the corporate website.

To make sure social media investments aren't wasted on 'brand building' and other such fuzzy terms, any social media campaign should have solidly defined ROI metrics. In the end businesses exist to make money, and social marketing should contribute to that.

If your social media marketing isn't generating pageviews, leads, or sales, you're not on the right path.

Unfortunately too many social media 'experts' don't focus enough (or at all) on ROI and instead wallow in vagueness and fuzzy marketing speak.
7:50 pm on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I heard on the radio today an interview with some unfunny (IMO) comedian Peter Serafinowicz.

He said that his new DVD was released yesterday and that it was the fastest selling release or something of all the mainstream comedians (Macintyre) and programmes (Office, Gavin and Stacey).

He put this down to twitter and his own blog. He said that his followers on twitter tweeted the hell out of it and those who read his blog hyped it to. The result being that the amazon page for the dvd had 150 reviews - all 5 star. He contrasted that with Gavin and Stacey which had just 30.

What is clearly happening here is that his loyal fans were creating something out of nothing. This is not a viral campaign and it is not self perpetuating either. His tweeters were singing the same song and just duplicating self promotional posts on the various sites.

All that has happened is that 150+ posters have reviewed the DVD are already genuine fans of the comedian and that this does nothing to help customers who do not know, or know little of him in order to make a purchase.

Emperor's new clothes sort of thing.
1:54 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Dell has sold a few million dollars worth of refurbs and overstock on Twitter. Zappos has burnished its reputation for customer service there. That doesn't mean that you or I can jump on social networks and start selling stuff like crazy.

Sure, it's possible to use these sites to promote your business. But, in many cases the ROI will be low or at least hard to measure.

It helps if your target customers fit the demographic profile of one of the major networks and tend to be active users. You must then find ways to promote in a way that is helpful and/or fun, or, even better, let your users/fans promote for you.
8:02 am on Feb 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Is social marketing just a scam service?

SM isn't a scam, but it must be easy for an ad agency to milk their existing clients by hyping what they can do. They are apparently experts in all marketing media, but in reality, they may have someone in the office who uses SM and this person is expected to work wonders for the client.

Consumer brands can benefit from SM more so than B2B brands. The demographics are important. The Prius recall was (I believe) accompanied with an online campaign in the US but perhaps their core user base might not be SM users even though they might be computer geeks who own the appropriate tools. Therefore, SM needs to be just one of many tactics to reach the audience.

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