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When is social media right for a brand?

26/09/2013

With too many marketing professionals, formulating a social media presence is treated the same way as eating pizza - when it's good, it's good, and when it's bad, it's still pretty good.

Because of the buzz around platforms such as Twitter it seems crucial to get involved, but too often little attention is paid to the quality or appropriateness of a firm's social marketing.

The role of marketers in this situation should be to assess how a business should shape its online presence, drawing on whatever metrics are available to make their judgement.

Vincent-Wayne Mitchell, professor of consumer marketing at Cass Business School, recently wrote that many companies remain relatively uncertain about how best to harness the power of social media, despite its high-profile presence in industry journals and discussions.

Writing in Marketing Magazine, he suggested there need to be clear reasons to invest in social media before a business commits to it, warning against simply charging blindly ahead and following the crowd.

First and foremost, he argued, businesses should only opt for social media marketing if they feel they have the time, technological expertise and funding to commit to it fully - a half-baked presence is often worse than none at all.

Other reasons to avoid opting for social are "when social media does not fit with your brand image and if early adopters of social media within your market have taken up much of the target audiences' attention," declared Mr Mitchell.

He argued that utilising a trial period of three months or so and working out the best way to go about setting up a presence on Facebook and Twitter can often be a good step for firms - this might lead them to utilise lesser-known platforms that better suit their brand, or indeed to avoid the world of social altogether.

Ultimately, social media is like skinny jeans. Yes, they're very popular - but that doesn't necessarily mean everyone is going to look good in them.