General Motors: “Social Media Is A Waste Of Time”


General Motors (GM) has announced that they are pulling all their ads on Facebook because the social media giant (and social media in general) didn’t prove to be of much help for the company. At least that’s what GM claims. But according to Ford: “It’s all about the execution. Our Facebook ads are effective when strategically combined with engaging content and innovation”. This message was a tweet sent by Ford right after GM’s announcement.

GM is a company who relies much on traditional marketing, but because of this, their profit for 2012 has yet to see significant improvements. Although there is nothing wrong with using traditional marketing for their generation of sales leads, GM needs to realize the fact that a large percentage of their market spend large amounts of their time online, specifically browsing through social media sites. GM is not new to social media use, but the problem lies with their apparent inability to grasp the concept of social engagement. Since they joined Facebook, GM’s official fan page has garnered less than 400,000 (381,140) likes, a rather sad statistic for a brand recognized worldwide. This author is admittedly not a follower of GM, so I would not be able to comment about their social media campaigns. However, considering the limited number of likes (compared to those of other international car manufacturing companies: Ford-1,508,597; Toyota-966, 119; Honda-2,067,482; Hyundai-2,443,293; Nissan-880,676), the statement about social media not helping with profits, and the affinity for traditional marketing strategies, it’s safe to say that GM has not been making genuine efforts to connect with their sales leads online. GM seems to have a hard time realizing that customers of recent years are vastly different from those of years ago. If they really want to improve their profits, then they should provide something of value that would attract their sales leads.

For b2b companies who are also contemplating which marketing strategy to implement, GM’s marketing issues should be a lesson. Traditional marketing by itself can no longer sustain a company. Various communication channels must be utilized when marketing products and services to remain relevant, visible and valuable. Traditional marketing such as emails, TV spots, newspaper ads and telemarketing should be augmented with online strategies including search engine marketing, content marketing and social media marketing. All these channels must be utilized to achieve the best results in completing the sales process, from generating business leads, successfully setting business appointments, to closing sales.