October 27, 2010

The True Cost Of Social Media

The great thing about social media is that it is a way for nimble brands to do significant, effective marketing without spending tons of money. Right?

Please, don't make me laugh.

Just for the heck of it, let's take a look at the 28 most popular brands on Facebook and see what they have in common.

1. Starbucks
2. Coca Cola
3. Oreo
4. Skittles
5. Red Bull
6. Victoria's Secret
7. Disney
8. Converse
9. i Tunes
10. MTV
11. Zara
12. Pringles
13. NBA
14. Starburst
15. Nutella
16. Dr Pepper
17. Monster Energy
18. Adidas
19. H&M
20. Ferraro Rocher
21. McDonald's
22. Playstation
23. XBox
24. Taco Bell
25. Puma
26. BMW
27. Blackberry
28. Nike

Notice anything?

A couple are cult brands. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, they are brands with enormous traditional marketing budgets.

This doesn't just apply to Facebook.

As Forbes.com reported, Anita Alberse, who teaches at Harvard Business School, found...
...The new world of social media may be a lot like the old world, if not more so...
...videos that got watched the most on the Internet are those that bought their popularity through traditional offline advertising, especially on TV.
One of the dangerous things about social media is that it gives a certain type of incompetent marketing person unprecedented opportunities to pretend they're doing marketing when they're actually doing little  of value. Here at Ad Contrarian World Headquarters, we call this "alibi advertising."

They can create spreadsheets that show 52 weeks of social media and convince the gullible and the foolish that something wonderful is going to happen.

These people who believe that social media is a low cost highway to marketing success are living in a digital dream world. They are either too naive to know, or too deceitful to tell their bosses, that with few exceptions there is a high cost to social media success.

It's called traditional advertising.

Thanks to Sharon Krinsky for the background on this post.

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