The article Advertisers face Hurdles on Social Networking Sites in The New York Times is once again bringing to light on the fact that putting up banner ads and fan page in social networking sites need not be entirely successful. Being a social media evangelist myself, i echo same point here as well.
Putting up in-expensive banner ads or creating a fan page is not good enough. The users will sign up/become a member of the fan page just to show their solidarity to the brand. Fair enough. But that is not branding .
Branding is all about reinforcing the name of an existing brand and the product or luring in new customers to buy the brand. To put in simple language , that is. Bottom line .. all this is done is to increase sales. Dynamic banner ads is not the solution for that .
One thing is that social media marketing and networks are at a very nascent stage. In order to leverage social media companies should find much better ways to use social networks in branding and lead generation.
One good way is to start a blog ,connect with relevant bloggers and run a viral campaign. Implement multiple viral/buzz/online word of mouth marketing campaigns and learn from trial and error method. But make sure there is one "Big IDEA" behind every campaign which is run. For this , the marketing teams should innovate and launch highly customized products to users and propagate it without being intrusive and irritating.