RIP Social Media Marketing

It’s time to bury the myth that social media marketing can actually help brands achieve their marketing goals.  The “so called experts” should be called out and so should marketers who followed their foolish, self-promotional nonsense.  

There is a difference between social media and social media marketing. Sure, everyone and their mother are using social media, but they aren’t using it to talk with brands,  As the Type A Group says “social media marketing — the idea that consumers want to “join the conversation” about brands and spread their enthusiasm for furniture polish and frozen chicken wings all over the web so “you don’t have to pay for advertising any more” — is about as dead as dead gets”.

Facebook, the shining star of social media marketing, has evolved into nothing more than a website drowning in traditional paid advertising. You can’t find a “brand conversation” there with the Hubble telescope.

Again I quote from Bob Hoffman:

The problem is that the evidence that social media marketing has been a mass delusion is piling up and reaching a point at which it is becoming hard to hide from. To wit:

– A recent report published in the Harvard Business Review says: “Across 16 studies, we found no evidence that following a brand on social media changes people’s purchasing behavior….nor does it spur purchasing by friends.” (This study, by the way, had some serious flaws of its own which I discuss here.)

– In a study by Duke University, the American Marketing Association and Deloitte, over 88% of senior marketers surveyed said they could find no measurable impact from social media marketing.

– A study by Forrester Research reported that only .07% — that’s 7 in ten thousand — of a major brand’s Facebook followers ever engage with one of its posts.

– Coca-Cola’s Global marketing chief Marcos de Quinto said, “Social media is the strategy for those who don’t have adigital strategy.”

The silly idea that people want to go online and have conversations about their toothpaste or their tires only makes sense if you understand the fantasy land in which marketing people live — an alternate universe of meatballs who are “passionate about brands.”

Now where I disagree with Mr Hoffman is that there are some products/brands that people like to follow.  For example, I am a huge fan of Trek Bikes as I ride 100 miles a week and I always want to know what’s new in the world of cycling so I follow them on facebook.  The same can be said for my car brand, Subaru.  Brand’s also have to be diligent to listen to what customers and prospects are telling them on social media as the platform is a good platform to vent against brands that consumers believe don’t listen.