How worthwhile is social media?
Do the number of friends you have on Facebook make a difference in your personal life? How about LinkedIn for your professional life? In a world where our digital attention spans are regularly overwhelmed by information, is social media really worth it?
The latest Great Debate from Switzerland’s premier business school IMD looks at the value of social media for marketing.
IMD executive director Jim Pulcrano says ‘no’ while Brian Guido Hassin, CEO of Smart Company Energy Solutions and IMD alumnus argues that social media is an important element of a marketing strategy when used well.
“Social media is overrated, just like every new tool that comes along,” says Pulcrano.
“Social media is new and shiny, and it’s cool to tweet and connect on Facebook, but it is just another way of us connecting with each other, and if marketers forget other channels, they put themselves at risk. Marketers must remember that all the tweeting in the world will never replace the value of the human voice or a personal encounter.” Hassin, on the other hand, believes social media offers unprecedented return on marketing investment – when done right.
“The benefits are numerous and are just as applicable to start-ups as they are to large, established companies. The social context of a consumer’s profile empowers marketers to target more effectively than ever before so that messages reach a greater proportion of relevant ears. Social media enables the viral spread of messages, rapidly accessing larger subsets of the targeted audience at lower costs than conventional media. Brand managers benefit enormously from the ability of social media to convert consumers into loyal, vocal advocates which creates significant competitive barriers. The instantaneous feedback of social media allows for highly agile, adaptable marketing campaigns.”
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