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The coming Social Media backlash

Time for a little drama. In a great post by Jeremiah Owyang we see how Levi’s used new Facebook tools to populate a shopping cart on Levi.com with recommendations from friends using Facebooks’s new social tools. This is very good for marketers. It remains to be seen how great it is for consumers. With Facebook constantly changing their privacy settings and continually opening up your information to the world, how willing are you to have others see what you like or dislike. More so, how willing are you to let others see what your friends think you’ll like or dislike?

Privacy first
Retailers and websites that move without caution into this space risk user wrath on exposing parts of their lives they’d rather not share for one reason or another. Given that even someones best friend may not know their personal situation fully, how can a company expect to?

Realize you don’t know
Part of any business or Internet strategy involves realizing that there are unknowns. In the case of one-to-one marketing you might know a lot about your customer. This does not mean you should publish this information without their approval. Wait you may say, it’s the consumers responsibility to determine what part of their information is public or private. While this is true, many either don’t know how to manage privacy (especially in Facebooks case) or fully understand its implications.

You win, You loose
As a marketer you might be able to make some real gains by implementing these new social commerce/marketing strategies. You must realize your efforts hit consumers, even just a small minority, the wrong way, you risk damage that could take considerable time to repair. As fast as social media can rocket your company to the top it can drop you to the bottom.

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