Traditional media no longer produces „predictable“ results and sometimes completely fails to activate certain target audiences at all. Hence brands are increasingly adopting social media tactics and moving into the social media space. This is no news. But for the big brands social is still very much a test lab. There are many marketing Euros ready to be spend on new ways to engage the target audience, but there are (yet) not many proven ways to spend these Euros effectively.

Related to this, two blog posts by Tom Smith caught my attention in the last couple of days:

Tom first wrote a post about why big brands struggle with social media (marketing):

1. Social Media is often viewed as just another marketing channel

2. It does not fit into current structures

3. Communities and content are global

4. Social media needs a long term approach

5. No guaranteed results

6. The metrics are new

The blogpost caused a long discussion about big brands in social media, causing Tom to write an update called „why we all benefit from big brand being in social media„:

This was around the idea that big brands shouldn’t be active in social media, as the presence of big business will destroy the consumer driven spirit and purity of what the social revolution stands for.

Big brand involvement for some feels like a sellout. However, now that social media is mass market, I strongly believe that this viewpoint misses the big picture. I believe that we all benefit as consumers from big brands being in social media.

1. Social media drives complete transparency

2. Social media drives quality product

3. Social media can be a great customer service channel

4. Social Media creates products that we want

5. You control the relationship

6. Big brands keep our access free

7. Big brands have interesting stories to tell

8. Users drive the content and conversation

Good food for thought, even though I think the example given for the customer service channel is a bit far fetched – I wouldn’t consider a twitter dialogue good service… But hey, some might like that.