Advertising & Social Media - A Marriage Made in Hell?
The very nature of social media is it's non-commercial nature. So say the critics of the concept of using social media to market goods or services. I was thinking about this while scanning an article in min online (media industry newsletter) about the rumored talks between Google and Twitter. Unless you have spent the last six months in orbit without radio communication with Mission Control, you no doubt have heard a lot about Twitter. In this article, author Steve Smith observes that, "The fundamental problems of monetizing social media remains the same now as it did in 1997. Traditional impression-based advertising simply performs abysmally in conversational contexts. People are engaged with one another, not ads."
So does that mean that marketing has no place in social media? I don't think so. But I do think it means that "traditional advertising" (and by this I refer not to the medium, but to the interruptive nature of advertising that "talks to" rather than "talks with" its audience) has no place in social media.
So what might work? The same thing that's been effective for years in many contexts and channels. Branded custom content that matters. It comes back to relevancy and serving the reader/listerner/viewer's interests and needs.
You're back in that cafe. The stranger leans over and says, "I couldn't help but hear you mention that you might be going to British Columbia this summer for a vacation. I ate at this fantastic restaurant in Vancouver a few weeks. Here's the name of it." He drops a note on your table with the name of the restaurants, smiles and wanders off. Bet you end up eating there.