Remember the “Social” in “Social Media”

Monday, 4 January 2010 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

I hear so many people saying that part (or all) of their business model is going to be "social media" or "social networking." Evidently, the idea seems to be hey, people are spending a lot of time in Twitter and Facebook. Since that's where they are, let's advertise to them there.

That's still "interruption marketing." You are trying to interrupt something I'm doing to show me your ad. And what's more, you're interrupting something SOCIAL I'm doing to advertise to me. If I'm on the official discussion board of cufflinks, and you come by to promote your cufflinks, OK that's fairly relevant. You might get my attention. But if I'm throwing a pig at an old college friend, I may not care about your jewellery website.

It's the new banner ads. We now mostly ignore banner ads. They interrupted what people were doing to try to take them on a different path of web surfing. And they mostly don't work.

I was pretty surprised this morning. I woke up to a Facebook message from someone I don't know. She had evidently gone through people who were "fans" of a certain business on Facebook, and sent everybody a message to promote her website. She figured if we liked him, we'd like her, and she'll just interrupt whatever we're doing to advertise to us.

That's spam. I don't go to Facebook to be spammed by strangers, and if that practice picks up, Facebook will become difficult to use, and people will start walking away. Facebook has rules against spam. Make sure you report people who do this so that Facebook doesn't just become spam universe. I can now see how it has the potential to become that.

Be very careful of ebooks and other so-called experts who want to tell you how you're going to promote your business using social networking. I even saw that on the list of things you could learn at eBay's upcoming eBay On Location events. I don't care what expert they bring out and what he or she says. You have to remember that the operative word in "social networking" is "social."

If you're an eBay seller, and you're thinking of using social media to promote what you sell, remember that you are interrupting me. Whatever I was doing, I was not thinking about buying from you. I was posting a picture of my dog… or I was tweeting about a funny TV show… or I was posting to my Facebook Wall with a funny quote. I was NOT thinking about buying a bathing suit from you.

You are interrupting me, and I'm going to remember you, but not in a good way.

The real power of social media is in social relationships. Let's talk about those next.

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Categories: Just An Observation

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