Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to be anti-social.

       Everyone talks about social media these days, but actions speak louder than words.

       A lot of advertisers really don't know how to act in public, and social media is the worst place to prove it. Here are some examples of where they go wrong:

       1. They crash the party. Everybody else is here to share and learn, but these advertisers want to turn your group into an infomercial. We instantly turn into human delete buttons.

       2. They're hard of listening. One of the best things about social marketing is that you can learn what your customers think about you, the good and the bad. That might be the best way to think of social media---as listening posts. You'll get new ideas for product improvements, language you can use in videos, and find out what people see as your shortcomings. Some companies like Gatorade have whole departments that listen, not talk.

       3. They consume social media, but don't really contribute. First you listen; then you contribute. That's the order. Contribute ideas that can move the discussion forward; add thoughts that can give people another  valid way of looking at things; offer tips, suggestions, and empathy, or a place where others can. It's not so much being uncommercial as being a friend to consumers, the way Johnson & Johnson does with their new mom page.

       4. They interrupt. We social media users don't appreciate commercial intrusions. It's the surest way to bring everything to a halt. Now, we understand that YouTube needs some income, and so we put up with the ads because their service is so terrific. But be careful on Facebook and Twitter. What you really want to do is help. Do something for a charity. Support the arts. Start a sweepstakes that will reward people. Offer an online game relating to the interests of other users. Teach something valuable.

     5. They think of social media as more media. It's not, really. Certainly they allow you to reach people, many times by their specific interests. But you can't just use social media any way you want to just because you're the one paying. On social media, think of yourself as a host who prides herself on a lively party. And if you can't be that, at least be a good guest. But don't come in blasting on your megaphone.

     That's not difficult, is it? Remember, the world is not about Facebook, or social media. The world is about people. What they're interested in, not you.

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