Social media: Friend or foe?

Don E Schultz
Northwestern University

Brands that leap headfirst into social media, assuming users will want to share information, may find these platforms are not the mass-marketing tool they hoped for, according to a 10-year US behavioural study.

Many marketers see social media as the 'next big new thing' to help build brands. Those advocates seem to view all the shiny new toys such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and the host of other social media tools and techniques as new, exciting and innovative channels; perfect for building customer engagement which somehow leads to brand preference, and, even better, brand loyalty... the continuing Holy Grail of all marketing and branding.

The result? The trade press, conferences, seminars, academic and professional meetings and so on are filled with bright-eyed, eager, enthusiastic social media advocates. They extol the virtues, veracity and value of building a 'strong, viable, social media strategy for the brand'. And, as you might expect, the most useful and valuable tools to do that with is the specific tool, technique, platform or whatever they represent. Their presentations all seem like manna sent from heaven or nirvana or Olympus or Cannes, or wherever the marketing Gods gather these days. Employ our new social media tool and watch your brand soar!