Do companies overinvest in their presence on social media?

A mere 4% of all Americans aged 15 to 25 thinks that a brand page on Facebook is a credible source of information about the product. This indicates that such pages are no more credible to youngsters than advertising or than what a competitor would say about the brand. Does this remarkable result from a recent InSites Consulting survey imply that most companies overinvest in their presence on social media?
I don’t think so. It is mainly a good indication of the fact that this Generation Y is very much aware of a company’s marketing strategy. As youngsters attach a lot of importance to the opinion of their friends and of other users of a product or brand, companies should let those groups do the talking. When brands really use their social media socially by allowing feedback and conversations by regular consumers on their pages rather than by filling them themselves, that’s when they really become decent and useful marketing instruments. It is the only medium which allows open dialogue at no great expense. However, many companies keep using their pages too commercially and hope that that’s the way to get youngsters to think the brand is so cool that they will ‘Like’ anything which is posted on the page. But that’s not how it’s done. It’s all about creating compelling content together; stuff that is worth sharing in conversations with your friends.
22% of US youngsters indicate that what regular consumers write on online forums and blogs is credible, as is what they are told by their friends about a brand or product (14%) and the opinion of other brand users (20%). This is their top 3 of most reliable sources.

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