Godin: Facebook, Twitter, Telephone Are for Talking, Not Marketing

I agree with Godin that traditional advertising doesn’t and won’t work in Facebook or Twitter. Operative word: traditional. But I don’t agree that Twitter and Facebook — just because they’re designed for connecting communities rather than distributing traditional media content — won’t devise native experiences that will work well for their communities and for brand marketers at the same time.

Brand marketing doesn’t need to operate like “traditional advertising.” For example, with its OPEN Forum blog, American Express is using marketing dollars to create a credible small business publication, replete with editorial contributions from the leading names in business advice. Based on repeat visitor rates and links from other sites that recommend it to their readers, the SMB community is finding value in the OPEN Forum blog even though its content is funded by ad dollars. And because the contributors to the site, such as Guy Kawasaki and Anita Campbell, are given license to create real, editorial content (they wouldn’t participate otherwise), they’re alerting their Twitter followers each time they post something new. They are not paid to post these stories to Twitter; they’re doing it because they always Twitter new stuff they publish, whether the content appears on their own sites or at someone else’s publication.

Guy K Tweets His Lastest OPEN Forum Post

I’d argue that American Express is using Twitter for brand marketing right now, and it’s working as well for Guy’s and Anita’s followers as it is for American Express.

Certain applications within Facebook, like Graffiti, have done the same: Developing ad-supported experiences that allow brands to enter the conversation without spoiling the conversation. Here are some exmples.

(Disclosure of sorts: Seth Godin is not officially affiliated with FM, unless you count our informal Seth Godin Fan Club. He is, however, a sometime contributor to the OPEN Forum site, the content of which FM manages.)

  1. # SorenG said: December 18th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    OK, so if traditional advertising will not work on FB or Twitter, what does? Is it just a place to put links of articles you write or find of interest, like Guy and others do? Is that the extent of “non-traditional” marketing for Twitter?

    Is this all there is or is there more to it?

  2. # Chas said: January 24th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    SorenG–I think there’s the opportunity for much more, stay tuned! The key (to me, anyway) is figuring out what *native* advertising experiences would look like. Thirty-second video commercials designed for TV networks, obviously, are native to a different environment, so that would be a disastrous Twitter experience — just like print ads would be disastrous on TV.

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