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Is social media not the panacea people make it out to be? Or is it a case of “you’re doing it wrong”?

TechCrunch published an article[1] recently describing the results of a survey a German market research firm conducted. The survey found that by and large, social media projects (think Twitter campaigns, Facebook pages, attempts at viral videos on YouTube) fail. Now it’s not clear from the survey what “fail” is meant and which metrics were used to gauge success or failure, but I’m sure those in the industry can judge by their gut that for the most part, enterprise forays into social media have been busts.There are some great comments on the TechCrunch site by some astute readers who in some form or another, hit the nail on the head. Here’s a sampling of my favourites:Martin Edic: “Most of this ‘marketing’ is a knee-jerk reaction to the question ‘why aren’t we in social media?’”

Jenni: “Reputation management is just one small branch of social media.”

Hazel Nieves: “Worst of all is the many ‘professionals’ in the roles of marketing and PR who have no clue on how to create and execute 21st century marketing. They are simply playing the role to keep their jobs.”

Alvin Tan: “Using social media as a broadcaster/megaphone is sub-optimal.”

Matthew: “I have yet to meet a social media whizz who can speak in depth about measurement, nor have I yet to meet a social media expert who has come from an engineering background, or who has been involved in any sort of actual architecting, delivery and running of platforms, or applications.”

Each of these comments sums up why Repustate started and why its doing things differently than others in the field. Here are the biggest problems from our point of view:

  1. There is too much douche-baggery in the social media business. Everybody is a guru, yet nobody can produce quantifiable results to justify the promotion they granted upon themselves.

  2. The tools needed to measure social media effectiveness don’t exist yet (we’re working on it!). Imagine trying to analyze the effectiveness of your landing pages back in 1997 before Google Analytics. That’s where we are right now with social media measurement. Some companies are changing that [2], but we have a ways to go.

  3. The current offerings to solve the above problems are so woeful it’s embarrassing. Basic sentiment analysis is being touted as the be-all-end-all. Being able to tell a brand that person X on Twitter just wrote something negative about them is useless. I’d want to know why it was negative. I’d want to know what I can do about it. In short, I want an actionable strategy. Imagine hiring an SEO consultant who after a couple thousand dollars came back and said, “OK, I’ve done the analysis, and your site is not optimized. Here’s my invoice.” You’d want to know why it wasn’t optimal. Are the title tags not relevant? Is the keyword density for your desired search terms too low? Is the markup poor?

It seems just like eCommerce was in the bad old days prior to proper SEO tools, A/B testing and the like, social media is still waiting to grow from its infancy. Repustate is aiming to give it the growth spurt it needs, but in the meantime, we all have to realize that social media is here to stay and an inability to extract value from it is a case of “you’re doing it wrong”.

Learn more about social media sentiment analysis.

[1] [2]

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