Phacebook Phonies

In a recent Brandweek article, there’s a line about how Gen Yers “can detect a brand that doesn’t belong in the social and digital media space.”

My takeaway from this isn’t that Gen Yers have any great powers of perception or detection (sorry kids, the days of getting trophies for even your last place finishes are over!). The key point is that there clearly are brands that either don’t belong in the social media space or clearly haven’t figured out how to be an authentic part of the social media space.

This begs a couple of questions: 1) Are there some brands (or firms or products) that simply should not be part of the social media space? 2) Can brands/firms/products become an accepted part of the social media space through experience or are there prerequisites that they must meet before becoming an accepted part of the social media space?

My take: 1) While there may be a few types of products that I’d prefer to not see in the social media space (feminine products come to mind), there’s likely some appropriate level of social media involvement for pretty much any firm/product/brand, and 2) There’s really no choice here — some brands/firms are going have to learn their way to “belonging” in the social media space.

This leads me to conclude that — despite all my prior rants about how firms should have a clear business and customer strategy to guide their social media strategy — the single most important decision a firm can make is deciding who should lead the firm’s efforts into the social media space.

In the financial services space, these are important questions for marketers to consider.

Question #1 shouldn’t be an issue for banks and credit unions. While I’m not particularly convinced that products like feminine products or Viagra are great candidates for social media (I could be wrong, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time weighing the other side of the coin on this one), the important role that financial products

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