Anyone with a passing acquaintance of this site will know that our opinion of social media as a marketing channel is, to put it politely, somewhat sceptical.

In fact, as study upon study has shown, once you look at the real numbers, its efficacy as a means of selling stuff is so close to zero it’s actually an insult to rounding errors.

At best social media represent a PR opportunity. But since people resent being sold to when they’re being social, it’s a rare old PR who can successfully control or influence this chaotic and unmediated world. Let alone get people to talk positively about, say, a business to business product.

“Suddenly we’ve been forced into the social media business too”

Brands that people talk about online are the brands that people might discuss with their friends in real life.

Which is why social media success stories generally take place with consumer brands that are already famous.

But here’s the paradox. While social media are almost laughably ineffective as marketing tools, search engine optimisation (SEO) is just about as important as it gets.

And since Google’s algorithms currently favour those sites with a highly active social presence – particularly those using Google Plus – suddenly we’ve been forced into the social media business too.

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