They say that the second M actually stands for “Marketing”. But I don’t get it. What is Social Media Marketing? Buying banner ads on Facebook? Taking part in the dumbest race ever to see who has the most followers? Does it work? Really? Apple has 7 million “like”s. Sounds like a lot? It’s less than 1% of the smartest coolest most connected people in the world on Facebook – not of the Joe Six-packs at Walmart. On the other hand, how many million iPods, iPads and iPhones have they sold? No wonder they’re not panicking. The BBC World News has only 2 million “like”s. That’s 0.2% of the users on Facebook. Do you think they’re worried? Fiat has 300,000 “like”s in Italy. Ten years ago, they used to sell over 1,000 units of the Fiat Punto model a day in Italy alone. Isn’t this more proof, if needed, that people first buy a product and THEN perhaps “like” it on Facebook, and not the other way around, which is what Social Media Marketing types will try to bullshit you into believing?
I love reading B2B brochureware and white papers produced by the online advertising industry. DSPs, retargeting, behavioural targeting, predictive targeting, that kind of stuff. Yes, I know. What a pervert! But it’s actually both interesting and amusing. Interesting because words very often give away who is doing something real and valuable and who instead is just full of bullshit. The former tend to speak in simple English and to spread valuable information instead of merely trying to hard-sell their wares. The latter use vague terms and a lot of hoopla. Which leads me to why it’s amusing.
Things have got so out of hand that not only we consider it normal to shoot at people – “targets” – we would like to sell our stuff to, but that we’re surprised when these people don’t want to be shot at (“elusive targets”). At the same time, advertisers who want to sell these people to companies talk about a “connection” you can make to “engaged” audiences. But fail to say that what they’re engaged to is whatever they are doing, and not what you are trying to tell them or sell them. Which leads me to wonder: why do advertisers hate their job – annoying people – so badly? It’s fun!
This what the job is about. Pretending it isn’t – pretending that (normal) people want to have “a relationship” with their bank or to be “engaged” by the makers of their shampoo is delusional, as the race to who has the most “like”s on Facebook or “followers” on Twitter proves beyond the shadow of a doubt. You follow your shampoo? No wonder you’re life – and your country – is fucked up. And to go back to advertisers: isn’t coming to terms with the fact that people don’t like ads and have other things to do in life the first, necessary step to creating work that actually sells products?
Especially when you consider that there’s nothing wrong with the Czech Republic.
It’s not like they’re a pharmaceutical company that needs “rebranding” or something…
So, the number of “like”s on Suzy’s post has gone up to 278,362 at the time of writing. Ryanair made 300 Euros thanks to their brilliant decision to charge €60 for every Boarding Pass she had not been able to print while on vacation. So, every “like” is worth 0.00107 Euros. I hope this settles it once and for all. No more nonsense that every Facebook fan is worth 100 dollars or shit like that, please ;-)
Ryanair has sure done one hell of a job! In only 4 days, they got 269,597 “like”s ;-)
And I’m pretty sure all those 13 thousand plus comments were a success, too…
When you think you’ve seen it all, well, you haven’t. Apparently Banco do Brasil have changed their home banking interface to “make it more social”.
Minhas transações vão ser compartilhadas com meus amigos? Meus buddies vão saber quem são meus outros buddies também? Vai rolar troca de mensagem? “Oi fulano, não me pagou ainda porque? Acabei de ver que você recebeu a transferência do João.”
My transactions will be shared with my friends? My buddies will know who are my other buddies? You will be able to exchange messages? “Hi what’s-his-name, why haven’t you paid me? I happened to see that you have received the money transfer from John.”
What about pics of my dog? Or of your niece’s wedding? Or of the nice barbecue we had last week?
This is simply demented. Companies like Banco do Brasil apparently do not understand that they’re a service, not your friends. This is not the way you “put a human face” on the service you give customers. That would mean hiring nice people to do customer care, paying them a decent salary and empowering them – for real! – to go out of their way to help customers instead of considering “customer care” only a nuisance to be dealt with by outsourcing it to some sleazy company that counts the seconds an operator spends on a customer and tries to “optimise” this time in order to squeeze more money out of these people. This is a travesty. Read it all here. Em Português.
Remember when the dotcom bubble burst in 2000/1, and the pundits who had raved over literally anything that had a “.com” in its name – hence, “dotcoms”, and who hadn’t said a thing when even a serious company like Sun started saying that they were “the dot in .com” or France Telecom started calling itself FranceTele.com – all of a sudden started saying that “this Internet thing” was overblown?
But what had happened? In short, the whole commercial web was based on the ridiculous idea that banner ads would be sold for a ton of money from portals to the so-called second generation of web services and onwards like that, for ever, to newer companies. It was nothing short of a Ponzi scheme, and of course it ended up in a mighty collapse, like these schemes always do.
But the pundits were wrong a second time. This “Internet thing” was NOT overblown. The Internet as a banner-based advertising medium had failed miserably, but not the web itself. People did non stop going online just because the party for greedy VCs and banks and IPO people had stopped. That was not the reason they had gone online in the first place, and they couldn’t care less.
Then came Google, which worked its way to finding the only hugely successful business model on the web, Adwords, basically the Yellow Pages of the web, and a few other products and services that were either making it thanks to Google (think Firefox, or WordPress) or on their own (think PayPal, Skype, or Dropbox). And a ton of new hoopla that this time was rebranded as “web2.0″.
How were these “web2.0″ companies making – or, rather, not making – money? The same old way, selling poorly targeted advertising based on crappy sociodemographic user data, and leaving it to other companies to experiment on how to make ads suck less (performance marketing, behavioural marketing, retargeting etc). But this time is was “social media marketing”. Yeah!
While the darlings of “web2.0″ crashed one by one, from Technorati to MySpace, from del.icio.us to Digg, Facebook was one of the very few success stories, and the only company that was able to grow not merely in size and raised capital (think Twitter) but also in revenue. Four billion dollars selling crappy ads doesn’t seem too bad at all to me for a newsreader and chat service.
Yeah, right. A one billion people fluke. Facebook is strong. People use it and love it. Just like 10 years ago with the web, it’s not Facebook itself that has a problem, but rather the way in which it can make profits that can match the absolutely crazy valuation the company had on IPO day. Facebook is fine. “Social media marketing” – ads on social networks – is a failure.
What is “social media marketing” anyway? Banner ads on social networks? Oh, brilliant. Text ads close to nobody clicks on? And what about all the talk about “conversations”? Conversations with whom? Online, we like to talk to one another. Like it or not, nobody gives a fuck about what marketers have to say, and even less about what their “web PR” agencies say for them…
Sure, you can waste time, energy and money in trying to promote a Lisbon-to-Kiev high-speed railway line nobody ever saw any need for, but sooner or later your house of cards will collapse. And we should just be happy it did before we poured a ridiculous amount of money into this crazy project.
On the web, it’s even simpler to get carried away. Sure, you could do customer care via twitter – how did that go? Apart from the free press, I mean; create refrigerators that tweet; ask your citizens to “like” parks and plazas and create T-shirts that connect to your Twitter account.
You should never forget, however, that just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.