I have been harping on this topic too many times, but as I recently sat through many conference sessions, and finally opened a book on communities and social media marketing that defined social marketing as “a process that empowers individuals to promote their websites, products, or services through online social channels and to communicate with with and tap into a much larger community that may have been available via traditional channels,” my hair got on fire.
I mean seriously – a channel to pimp your wares that has the potential to reach a bigger audience than TV audiences? Get real! This is bad advice.
Companies that approach social media marketing from that perspective will fail… miserably. Those that realize the real potential of social media will win… big time.
You see, social media marketing is not about you talking with an audience – it’s about them talking with one another. It’s about having a real time window in what your market is currently thinking about – what they like, what they dislike, who has the trust and who hasn’t. It’s all ABOUT THEM – NOT YOU!
Social media marketing has to be steeped in humanity and reciprocity – you give and take. And I recommend you start by giving. If you don’t, people will not only shut you off, they will punish you for not respecting the basic social rules that have ruled human societies for tens of thousands of years. People are no more likely to enjoy a twitter feed that constantly spews company information than they are enjoying a person at a party who only talks about herself.
If you really want to understand social media marketing, start thinking about how you would help a friend or colleague make a buying decision. Would you send them your corporate brochures? Would you spam them the way you do with your corporate twitter feed? Would you use the words you use in your marketing materials?
Chances are you would not.
For some stupid reason, people forget to be human when they step into the office. It is as if they leave their humanity at home and reserve it only for friends and family.
Social Media Marketing is about common sense – it’s about being real, authentic (there is another word that takes on new meaning in the corporate world), and helpful.
It’s about being human.
It’s simple – really.