Our comment on the recent article published on mashable.com
You cannot repeat it often enough!
Social Media does have great poential, no doubt.
It enables companies to reduce the ever growing distance between them and their consumers, between producer and buyer, takes them closer to their target groups and provides answers to the increasing desire for personalized products, or to sum it up: unpredictable consumer behavior.
But blindly investing into this miraculous segment may also cause harm. Not only in terms of an investment.
Social media is, as the name implies a social sometimes even personal phenomenon. No impressions are stronger than personal ones. But if whatever you do or say is not credible, the strength of the personal, social contact turns into the opposite of what had been desired: ignorance, distrust, and negative word of mouth. It is like selling insurance contracts to family members in order to fulfill goals set by an insurance company you work for. This will ruin social relationships forever. The same goes for companies who half-heartedly use Web 2.0 to boost profits .
Not every company fits into this personal sphere. And not everybody wants to be addressed this way. You cannot push a brand into the personal sphere of a consumer. Especially not if a company or brand does not possess the required desirability.
Consumers may be „victims“ or information overload, unlimited product varieties, etc but they still have control over their private sphere. This has to be respected at all time. They decide what brands they „pull“ into this sphere.
Usually it is brands they trust, have known for quite a time, that accompanied them during their life, brands they long have been admiring, or they use to transform features of the brand onto themselves.