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June 26, 2009

Advertisers must rethink social media

To effectively leverage on the power of social media and mobile marketing, advertisers must begin to rethink how they engage their audience and realise that consumers are thinking completely differently in these media spaces.

That is the view of Michel Maeso, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Funambol, and Cato Gullichsen, CEO of the Singapore-based InCent. The pair were both panelists at last week’s CommunicAsia event held at Singapore Expo.

Speaking at a roundtable addressing the issues surrounding mobile social media, Gullichsen stressed the problems which arise when brands take traditional advertising and bring it into social and mobile media platforms.

“I think when you go into social media or the mobile phone, advertising changes,” he said.

“The thing is with Friendster and MySpace and Facebook is – you’re in my space. I choose to add you as my friend, so your company is my friend. Friends need to start acting like your friend when you’re in social media. That means that your friends know what you’re interested in. They don’t spam everybody the same message saying ‘buy my product because everybody has it – get it now’.

“That kind of message just doesn’t work and it’s part of the mismatch going on right now. We’re transporting the mass marketing into a social space and people are saying ‘why are you telling me this? How’s this relevant? Get lost.’

Maeso agreed with Gullichsen’s sentiments, stating that social media is a completely different experience and bring with it a completely different audience.

“It’s a different way of thinking and I think that’s the biggest obstacle because people are thinking differently from the advertisers,” Maeso said.

“The technology, resources, support and platforms are all here – they’re ready to roll – but the advertisers needs to rethink how they engage the audience.”