The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between. If you are a startup , I recommend you to use social media to engage meaningfully, not just to garner facebook fans and twitter followers. ( Last I heard, you could buy followers on twitter for a cent each). As for big companies, well, if no billboards are available on Gurgaon expressway this month, pay some $$$ to a social media guru and start a cause like Stripey the Cub. ( sponsored by Aircel). It is cheap, fast and it works.
Are you a social media guru?
One of my friends who works ( freelances) with a social media strategy firm sent this hilarious cartoon clip. I have a few friends in this space who work with both big companies and startups. Being a startup ourselves, we do take social media seriously given that it does not cost anything.( except time to tweet and re-tweet and post and re-post). Social media is definitely a good tool to make yourself heardÂ andÂ let the world know there are real people behind the company. Folks like Tony Hsieh ( sold Zappos.com to Amazon for a billion USD) have used their blogs to good effect. So while Zappos primarily sold shoes and other apparels, Tony’s blog had quite a fan following based on his mostly humorous posts.The problem : Marketers in big companies hear the latest buzz ( through friends or media or “social circles”) and suddenly every one of them wants to jump on the bandwagon.Â Before you can say “Twit what?”, there are hundreds of social media gurus, facebook consultants, twitter shops, community engagement platforms, all selling their wares to these marketers. Result : You are asked to become a fan of “Baby XXX diapers” even though a restraining order legally prevents you to be within 100 meters of a kid. Or followÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ” Porn YYY game”Â on twitter except that there are only nude men ( and no nude women ) in the game ( gay adsense scammer, ha ha).