Companies have tried all sorts of stuff to get young people’s attention, and one of the main approaches involves fitting in. They put ads in popular hangouts, hire “hot” spokespeople, and so on. But it looks like companies might be better off using email advertising instead of invading social networks.
Like commercials on TV versus calls from a telemarketer, advertising on social networks seems to cross a line. ExactTarget and Ball State University’s Center for Media Design conducted a study on the matter, and Mike Bloxham, the Center’s director of insight and research, stated, “One of the key findings in this research is that 18- to 34-year-olds claim they are more likely to be influenced to make purchases based on e-mail marketing messages and direct mail than marketing messages on social networks.”
He then continued, “It is too easy to assume that the media consumers choose for their own news, information and entertainment are, by default, the best media to use for marketing messages. This is a dangerous assumption to make in a time when consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their level of control over their media experiences.”
So consider staying clear of Facebook and MySpace, or at least being very careful about who you contact and how you go about the process. A hint: if you can look at the details of profiles, see if they look more personal or professional. If you can’t see the details, glance at how many friends they have. People with professional profiles or whole bunches of contacts are probably more open to networking and different types of offers.