The human race is basically a sociable bunch and likes to communicate with its fellows at many given opportunities. And when Facebook websites and other such platforms came along, people suddenly had a way of communicating with each other in groups that could be easily formed and managed. Thus, the whole idea of social marketing was born.

The challenge for the commercial world, is to take the social marketing phenomenon and use is to communicate with existing and new customers.

But for many companies, trying to get it together on social media websites is a bit like watching your Dad dance at the disco, embarrassing and potentially traumatic in later life.

So many companies just do not understand the whole basis of social marketing and end up trying hard to please, but failing in every respect. Others actually damage their brand by making crude land grabs for groups that they think would naturally want to be bombarded by their marketing message.

And then there’s those companies that think that an open forum would be a great idea, then instantly regret it. One of the country’s largest retailers found that to their cost (in image terms at least), an open forum was an invitation to all manner of comments about their products and way of doing business.

Now this is mildly amusing, but for those that see the internet as a great social media marketing tool, it is a serious source of worry, because the internet is currently based on free and open comment, at least for the majority of people posting their opinions. So any company encouraging an open forum, is prone to a range of uncontrollable and sometimes outrageous comments which remain basically unanswerable.

So, yes, social marketing is great, but you have to keep your wits about you!