Let’s face it, Social Media is here to stay. What was once just an entertaining way of seeing your friends and family make fools of themselves, is now being used to sell you things.

Or is it?

When looking at Social Media as advertising, there are questions that should be asked. Are people actually looking at that annoying Facebook sidebar ad? Are they actually reading those sponsored Tweets? One thing to keep in mind when spending precious ad dollars: advertising must SELL to be effective.

When GM recently pulled their paid advertisements from Facebook, there was an outcry from both sides. There was the argument that GM was not keeping up with the trends, and they were going to be missing a large audience. Larry Popelka wrote in Bloomberg Business Week that GM didn’t “get social media” He argued that social media requires advertisers to develop more thoughtful ads than the traditional 30-second TV ad, and to create a deep engagement with consumers.

The opposite argument agreed with GM, in that paid ads on social media services were not effective. Forbes Magazine reported a recent survey that found 91% of companies believe social media doesn’t “significantly impact sales”. The main argument is that there has been no exact way to measure the return on investment. Forbes argues that social media needs to be part of an overall advertising package.

Our opinion? Social Media is one part of the 4 or 5 major ad vehicles to get your product SEEN: Broadcast (TV, Radio), Print (Newspapers, Magazines), Outdoor (Billboards, Bus Shelters, Windowposters™ *), Online, (Banner Ads, Social Media).

There is a common rule of advertising that says your audience needs to see your ad 3-5 times to be effective. Social media is just one of those layers that needs to be considered.

What do you think?

* Shameless plug intended.

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