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Everyone in our industry is orgasmic about Social Media.  We are running off in all directions at the same time — creating all kinds of social media programs.  But why?

Try to challenge the value of Social Media, the response is usually that “You just don’t get it.”

There are benefits of social media, using peer endorsements or appearing peer endorsements.

Word of mouth endorsement is a powerful full selling tool and the allure of a digital version of word of mouth is very attractive to anyone in Marketing.

Facebook has created a multi-billion dollar revenue stream almost overnight by allowing ads that say 27 people liked this, or your friend Bob liked that and targeting precisely based on members own information.  That’s just bought advertising, though, that can be evaluated like most other types of paid media.  It uses Social Media, but that’s not what the excitement is about.

Social media that sends hoards of agency folks pumping up comments and blogging like crazy through promotional sites.

But the real question is: “Does that kind of social media increase sales and profits?” – well, the jury is still out.

My experience tells me that social media is no panacea.

Like any other medium, television, radio, print, you name it.  There are applications where it can work at  times.  And there are ham-handed approaches that will fail.

Agencies have been told by advertisers from time to time that a particular medium doesn’t work for them.  And sometimes it is true, but sometimes it is the creative or media strategy that failed.

Right now our industry is wound up and excited about social media for two reasons:

  1. Their clients are excited about it
  2. It means fee revenue for work that is only vaguely accountable for results

We like to measure results by sales.  Social media results tend to be trumpeted through recognition by peers or trace evidence of activity.

Another agency I know crowed about a trendy website that had several thousand visitors.  On a cost per impression, that SUCKS.

But they saw it as success.  Let’s call it SUCKcess – the appearance of success while achieving failure.

Someone I used to know was fond of saying, these kinds of programs are like wearing a dark blue suit and peeing yourself.

You have a nice warm feeling; you still look good, and no one really notices.

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