Adam T. Sutton

Not Advertising On Social Networks

The New York Times ran an article this week describing the challenges of advertising on social media sites, Facebook in particular. The article describes Procter & Gamble’s experience with brand advertising on the world’s largest social network and leads the reader to believe that it’s been less than fruitful.

I do not doubt that effective advertising on social networks has eluded many marketers. As the article says, people are going to their sites to interact with the friends, not to shop. However, social networks have marketing applications beyond advertising:

1. For consultants and B2B marketers, social networks are a good place to find and nurture leads and stay in touch with industry contacts, as described in the linked-to Sherpa article. You can also boost your credibility by participating in discussions relevant to your business.

2. Today, Sherpa published an article on how to use social networks and social media sites to boost SEO results.

3. Social networking can also help your PR efforts. If the people in your company use the sites and keep their ears open, you’ll be privy to discussions about your company. You’ll be able to squash disinformation and encourage good news in a virally-conducive setting. You don’t need to have a “brand” profile. Having real people use the service who are identified as your employees will likely work better.

There are also other ways to market in social networks, such as creating a branded application to run on the network. While many of the strategies require more work than buying banner space (you’ll actually have to interact with people), they are proving to be effective.

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