According to Nielsen, more time is spent on Social Networking sites than is spent reading or sending emails. In their latest study, this equates to one out of every six minutes of the average web user’s time is spent on sites like FaceBook, MySpace, or Twitter…or Dealer Refresh (and other blogging sites). Social Networking is growing at twice the pace of other major online activities such as using a search engine, researching a car purchase, or just sending an email.
To put social media into the simplest of definitions, think of it as a place where people can converse with other people on the Internet.
Take a look at Nielsen’s survey. Of note is page 7 where they address the problems in advertising within a “conversation”.
It will take time to work out the magic formula for successfully advertising in social networks. The diversity and personalised nature of the environment means standard ad models – such as contextual search and standard unit sizes – won’t cut it. Different approaches across ad units and ad inventory will have to be tried, involving a trial and error mindset.
As advertisers, do we join the conversation or interrupt it?
Nielsen also points out that:
Social media has fanned the flames of consumer distrust about advertisers claims.
If you are familiar with an eBay and M3 incident from a few months ago, you already know the power of Social Media on an advertiser’s reputation (notice what’s indexed in that search link). Knowing you cannot control every little thing that may or may not be done by one of your employees, how can you combat these medias when they’re not working for you? How do you stop the Flogging?
Social Media brings up two major problems for advertisers:
- How do you advertise on it?
- How do you keep your reputation clean in it?
Imagine a customer sitting in your finance department with his iPhone. He loved everything about your sales person, loves the deal on the car, and is on Twitter describing the whole process to his 100+ followers – great! Then your F&I Manager says “if you buy this warranty, I’ll lower your rate by 2 percentage points.” Guess what was just Tweeted to over 100 people…who may Tweet that to their own followers. What was a great time, has now become a single 140 character sentence on Twitter that just ruined your reputation with a bunch of people…and you have no idea!
I’m not trying to scare you with this, but I am trying to grab your attention. On the positive side, you can specialize in a particular social media network/site and gain a serious following of consumers who won’t even think of doing business anywhere else. You just have to do it right, and join the conversation.