You kinda wonder why social networks came to exist in the first place. These were havens/escapes for users who were tired of being bombarded by advertisers who held them handcuffed to the content in exchange for viewing their beacons of intrusive ads and even occasionally clicking on them (please oh please!) to get them to come to their site. Does anybody remember when the internet first emerged and advertising was a no-no. Eventually as with everything else, advertisers went where the masses were congregating and advertising became a necessary evil in order for users to access to the much-needed content.
Now social networks is the new norm, yet another opportunity for marketers –> but somehow the rules have changed. In this space, it’s about influence. it’s not about banner clicks. Playing in this space as an advertiser means you have to tread cautiously. I’ve talked about the “establishment” in previous posts and it’s clearly about learning to adjust in an arena that is dictated by its inhabitants. Big brands can damage their reputations if they fail to be authentic or try to sell themselves in a space where selling is not allowed. It’s also about attempting to and genuinely wanting to create relationships with the users in this space and willing to be open to discussion and criticism in order to grow the brand.
It’ll be interesting to see how the MySpace Plus 3 Major Music lables deal pans out. It almost defeats the purpose for the existence of social networks. And yet it is providing an avenue for labels to make money at a time where CD sales are declining , illegal downloading and file sharing is rampant and the music business is desparately finding ways to stay afloat. On the flip side, the advantage for many of the independent artists who currently have MySpace pages is enormous if they could benefit as well.
But again, will the million of users on MySpace perceive this as yet another imposition by big brands trying to infringe on their time? These users need to be the forefront of this. Strength in numbers dictate that users can change the way they are being marketed to ie creating demand for products they care about as opposed to having that demand pushed on them by advertisers.