The jury is still out on social media as a marketing tool. There, I said it, heretical as it might be. To say otherwise is to be blindly optimistic or, worse, stupid.
We’ve all either presented or endured the same script on social media: a few slides declaring that one-way communication is over and that consumers want more; graphs that show people using social media technologies; mention of “disruptive technologies” and shifts in media consumption; a few examples of how famous brands have been treated in the social space; and that damn slide with all the social tech logos on it, which is usually the backdrop for the new business pitch.
The problem is that the logic is facetious.
Word is leaking out that there’s no causal connection between social phenomena and real-world results. Remember that “United Breaks Guitars” YouTube hit in 2009 (you can see “American Breaks Bikes”here)? United reported its best business results later that quarter. The outcry from the Motrin Moms over some stupid viral spots in 2008 didn’t make a dent in product sales. Nestle, Domino’s, even Pampers have encountered similar online firestorms that didn’t impact business performance.On the political front, a leading Iranian journalist hassaid that tweets didn’t influence the election aftermath, debunking the branding of “The Twitter Revolution.”