Pitfalls of Social Media Marketing

During my presentation/interview at the Northwest Business Virtual Summer Conference, Tom Cochrane asked me what the big difference is between marketing with social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and using the traditional sources such as TV, radio, and print.

I replied that there has always been something of a “contract” between the audience and old media — radio listeners get their content at no charge, and in return accept the fact that advertising is part of the landscape. Same for newspapers and television: the information arrives either at no charge or heavily subsidized.  Although there is more interaction than there used to be, the content is still “consumed”, and must be paid for somehow.

The fundamental difference with social media, I told Cochrane, is that people use it to communicate with each other, and do not expect to be pitched to. Even though Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace are essentially free services at this point, the users, rightly, or wrongly, have a different set of expectations.

Since making those remarks, I’ve encountered a couple of good posts that expand on the topic:

At Marketing in Progress, Brett Duncan takes on the Twitter spammers:

It saddens me to see so many people constantly posting tweets and Facebook updates that go something like this:

  • Brand X is helping me lose 10 pounds a week. It can help you, too. CLick here . . . .
  • If you want to make $1,000 this week on the Internet, I have what you need.
  • Want to earn what you’re worth? Sign up with Brand X. Ask me how.
  • I get 300 followers a day. Go here to find out more.

Nobody gets on Twitter looking for crap like this. There’s nothing “social” about using social media as your own advertising medium.

And The Digital Marketer offers counsel on how to avoid damaging your social media reputation.


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2 thoughts on “Pitfalls of Social Media Marketing

  1. Interesting point. I also see one that using facebook / twitter / myspace can target a much tighter audience. For instance, if you place an ad on K103, you may reach the ears of 10,000 people. Post an ad or update on Facebook and you’ll get in front of a few hundred eyes,

  2. Phil –

    I somehow missed this; thanks for the link.

    What a loaded question Tom gave you, huh? What I find interesting is that we’re all starting to expect less advertising on our traditional channels. Yes, I understand that TV and radio are free to me, but today’s attitudes toward the type of advertising on them has me thinking I should get those services for free AND without the nuisance of advertising. It’s an interesting time.