Social Media For Brands Is The Modern Day Fan Club

Starbucks has 1,482,069 fans on Facebook and 183,729 followers on Twitter at the time of this post. But what does it mean to the bottom line?
The New York Times reminds that “it is difficult to measure the effects of social media — a follower on Twitter does not necessarily translate to a daily Frappuccino drinker.”
Bob Hoffman has even tougher words about brands’ growing reliance on social media. Let’s listen…

Because forced exposure on the web has not been terribly successful, the advertising community is trying to convince itself that the answer is social media. But there’s a big problem. Social media is not like traditional advertising. Consumers have to volunteer for it.
The idea that people will voluntarily “interact with your brand”, or can be tricked, coaxed, or charmed into interacting with it, is a highly suspect proposition for most brands.

I’m sure Chris Bruzzo, vice president for brand, content and online at Starbucks would say Starbucks is the exception, not the rule.
Personally, I think brands need to constantly experiment in a search for the just the right mix of media and messaging. Provided a brand has some good ideas to work with (which never come cheap), a little money can go a long way online.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. The key to advertisers unlocking social media will be “motive.” If consumers are “in” on the promotion, deal, etc they will play. If not they will flee.
    My discussion:

  2. So much talk about the value of this work… Here’s the thing:
    We like transparent dialogue with our people. We like to celebrate the things that bring us together — great coffee, a place to have a great meeting or just relax.
    We enjoy the engagement with our online friends. We get a lot out of it that makes our experience better; they get what’s interesting to them. In some cases, that’s a need to be heard or to address a concern. In other cases, it’s simply a desire to share “my favorite drink” with others. Some people like to see that they can have an impact; others like to be in the know.
    We like to go to where the people are and give them the right sparkable material for them in that particular online environment. And we constantly update our thinking and the ways we engage.
    It’s a multi-faceted, dynamic, many-to-many conversation and we’re doing what we can to be the gracious dinner party host.