Thursday, February 7, 2013

Social Can't Sell

In The New York Times, tech journalist Stephen Baker recently asked, “Can Social Media Sell Soap?”
His short answer: nope.
Precision targeting, which generates ads "so timely and relevant that you welcome them," has "fueled a market frenzy around social networks," Baker writes.
But social networks are heading for a fall, because social can't sell.
As proof, Baker cites a chilly sales statistic (courtesy of IBM) from last year's Christmas season. 
"On the pivotal opening day of the season, Black Friday, a scant 0.68 percent of online purchases came directly from Facebook," Baker writes. "The number from Twitter was undetectable. Could it be that folks aren’t in a buying mood when hanging out digitally with their friends?"
I think Baker is on to something.
Social can't sell.
That's why the oxymoron "social media marketing" would make George Carlin's list.
Social is unlike traditional media.
When you consume traditional media (newspapers, magazines, radio and TV), you willingly trade your attention for content. 
That means ads aremore or lesswelcome.
But in social, ads aren't welcome. 
They're like a telemarketer's cold call in the middle of the family dinner.
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