There has been a proliferation of articles about using social media and how marketers see this as a vast new land of opportunity. Unfortunately, the majority of stories also feature how marketers fail miserably at establishing trust in these social media spaces, and most of that has to do with the attitude of the advertisers.

Too many times, marketer’s feel as through social media has been created for their benefit, when in reality it is a group of people with similar interests who joined into a community. A community where marketers are free to participate, but not free to overtly sell, that isn’t part of the social contract.

Users in these communities are looking for participation and contribution. And no – advertising your product and dropping links are not considered participation. Contribution is in the form of thoughts, opinions, and discussion.

Bottom line, social media networks are looking to hold hands, and not jump into bed on the first date. Marketers need to cool their jets and learn a little foreplay, otherwise, rejection is painful. To be viewed as a consumer is a little disconcerting for these contributors, and many feel just as violated, as if they were a ‘piece of meat.’

Facebook’s slap in the face
Facebook’s Beacon advertising program was the latest singles bar casualty. In promising free love for advertisers, Mark Zuckerburg forgot that romance is important. People were not using Facebook in order to give him a $15 Billion dollar valuation, they were using it to connect with friends and define themselves to the world. They didn’t want to be treated as whores for advertisers, and they spoke up vehemently. Beacon will now be a shadow of its intended purpose. All because marketers believed that consumers were there for their pleasure.

Thus, the tragic problem with marketers comes to the surface when they try social media. So many of them believe they only have to make a quick stop into the singles bar and then on to bed. However, consumers only want to hold hands.

Can We Hold Hands First?
Social Media was not created for marketing. Social Media existed before the modern internet and even preceded websites. Social Media is a creation of users for themselves to meet and connect, to think otherwise is foolish. No social media network was created for the express purpose of marketing (except for Webkinz, but that’s another story).

The image is reinforced of an overbearing bad date that cares about nothing more than getting into bed, when the consumer wants to talk and be heard. Many advertisers feign listening, some stomp off in disappointment, others are willing to become involved, maybe even commit to a long-term relationship.

But that is how marketers show themselves in many social media settings – concerned only with getting their message across. Rarely do they listening to any of the discussions or familiarize themselves with the intricacies of the social scene.

  • Listen more than talk
  • Be complimentary
  • Don’t expect to score on the first date
  • Don’t brag about your conquests
  • Be willing to commit for the long-term

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