When stories hit recently pointing out that several major chains-including JCPenney, Nordstrom and Gap-had killed their Facebook sites due to insufficient new revenue, some started questioning the value of Facebook and social media in general. It was a wonderful example of drawing the dead-wrong conclusion from research.
Those Facebook sites died because they were based on a flawed understanding of what social media is all about. It's not about creating a storefront or a virtual watering hole where customers gather to sing your praises. Those retailers already have that: It's called a Web site. Social media is about listening and only participating when you are either invited or you can be truly helpful.
With social media, return on investment has to be viewed from a very long-term perspective. That doesn't play with the marketing groups who are trying to create these Facebook areas.
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