October 13, 2011

Testing Social Media Theory

The research department here at Ad Contrarian World Headquarters has asked me to help them conduct a little project.

You see, we've been ragging on social media maniacs for quite some time.

We've gone on record saying that we believe social media is a good vehicle for some tactical things -- short-term retail promotions and customer relations, for example. But we've also said that social media is not a very good tool for big picture strategic stuff like sales and brand building.

So we would like you to help us determine the truth.

According to our Global Director of Worldwide Research, the essence of social media theory is the "conversation." The conversational theory of marketing goes something like this: Because of the social web, sharing of information about brands is much more prevalent among consumers and has given consumers unprecedented power in their purchasing behaviors.

Now our Worldwide Director of Global Strategic Insight says that it certainly makes sense that "information is power." And if it's true that consumers are having these conversations there ought to be some significant manifestation in product sales. But the key question is, are people really having conversations about brands in social media? Or are they posting pictures of their cats farting?

So here's what we did. The people in our research lab have some fairly active Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In accounts. These are, by far, the most popular social media sites. We're guessing here (that's right, researchers sometimes guess) that between these three sites, they probably comprise about 75% of the "social web."

We've studied these accounts for a week. In that week, we haven't found one conversation about a brand. Not one.

So help us out here. Go right now to whatever Facebook, Twitter or Linked-In accounts you may have. Look to see if there's a "conversation about brands" happening anywhere on your page. Then report back via our comments section.

Do a good enough job and we'll make you an Official Junior Associate Worldwide Global Research Director.

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