The internet has its optimistic moments, and the idea of marketing on the social sites, particularly Facebook, was one of those moments. The global economic recovery, you’d have thought, was going to be based on social media marketing of washing machines. Well, no. Not quite. Not by a long shot, in fact, and it’s because people got the basics backwards.
Social media marketing- The fiction and the facts
The basic idea of social media marketing was “There’s a huge market, therefore it’ll buy anything.” This was a complete misreading of the social sites. People don’t necessarily go onto social sites to buy things any more than people go to pubs to buy cars.
The social sites simply aren’t set up to become marketing areas. A site like Facebook is so big, so complex, and so much based on real time situations that a big strategic reorganization to carry a lot of marketing material takes time. The current version of marketing is a pretty ad hoc, basic thing, more like classifieds and craigslist than anything else.
For the monster social sites, it was expecting the impossible. For Facebook, carrying unheard-of data loads, tacking on online stores, click throughs, affiliate marketing etc, is best done as links at the moment, and that’s basically what’s happening.
The most glaring deficiency in the idea of social media marketing was that it could operate like TV, and “broadcast” to the social sites. That was an inexcusable misreading of the situation. The social sites don’t operate like that, and the marketing industry should have known a lot better than that.
Social media marketing- The possibilities
There are possibilities for social media marketing, but not in the way envisaged. To get any attention at all on a social site requires very high interest levels, and that means quality marketing product, targeted within specific markets.
This environment isn’t the Shopping Channel or daytime TV or the impulse buying market stand at the supermarket checkout. There are specific interest groups on Facebook which would be natural markets for practically anything on sale anywhere on Earth. If you want to sell a good brand discount coffee machine, you could just look up the caffeine fanatic group.
It’s not that easy, though. This is where conventional marketing has a role to play. This is a niche audience, and they’re experts. That’s why they have their own group. They won’t buy just anything that’s poked at them. Get them interested, and you have a market. Send them spam, and you’ll never be forgiven.
The need now is for a new organizational mode for social media marketing. If Facebook wants to become a real marketplace, it needs to get in synch with the online specialists, like Amazon, Google, PayPal, Barnes and Noble, and the other truly efficient online marketers.
- Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. provide product credibility levels.
- You set up PayPal based sales.
- You use Google to provide targeted ads to the interest groups.
- You market good quality products that won’t get howls from half a billion people.
- You tweak this system until it works perfectly and gets accepted by the billion or so people on Facebook by the time it gets started.
Then you can have a real social media marketing system.