Skywriting is Not Good Social Marketing – Knock it Off.

The Twitter fail whale error message.
Image via Wikipedia

A local church here in town is having a huge promotional event this weekend, and is giving away millions of dollars of stuff to lure draw people in this Easter weekend. I have strong feelings about the subject and despite those strong feelings I’ve tried to live and let live, so to speak. I get the premise, but I think it’s misguided and sends the total wrong message that pandering to people’s base need to covet things is a good marketing hook. But I digress. I really don’t want to hate on the church so let’s just set those aside for a moment and stay on topic.

Which is this: Social Marketing is just that. Social. It’s not you with a bullhorn blasting me from no less than 5 accounts on Facebook and a couple on Twitter, with the same redundant message. It isn’t so, well, OBNOXIOUS and in-your-face. I’m younger than you, so it’s not a “you don’t get my generation” thing.

Social Media allows a connection and a conversation in an era when we’ve forgotten how to have a conversation in our zest and zeal to get our own message out louder and prouder and faster than our competition.

I’m friends with a fair amount of people on Facebook – about 600, and about 1000 on Twitter. I’m sure there are lots of ways to “do” social media, but my way works for me. I know, either personally (as old friends, or family), by reputation (such as political figures and candidates), or by association (such as national business contacts or groups) or by referral and I do turn down requests. I’m not a friend collector. I follow less people on Twitter than follow me and I check every profile. It’s like sorting through the the junk mail at the mailbox and tossing the sales pitches in the trash before you come in the door. Once it’s in the house it’s clutter. My life is cluttered enough.

The gray area that I struggle with is the extra “noise” that comes from Facebook Fan Pages. I am amused at the pages of the Youth Group Kids – the ones they create and the ones they join, with long pithy sentences like,

“I hate it when i’m taking a drink and all the ice attacks my face”

That’s hilarious to me. Just joining the group adds that to your wall, and I get a pretty decent chuckle from some of them.Especially when the kids join 8-10 in a row and daisy chain the messages. No harm, no foul. Not generally the groups I join, but they serve their purpose.

I join some Fan pages out of solidarity or support. For example, I have no need to read a bridal magazine, but my friend owns it so I support her. I love to see local businesses succeed, even if they’re not in my direct line of necessity. I tend to pass on suggestions, good or bad and I’m not particularly shy – but believe it or not, I am discriminate.I’m friends with 600 people – It would be social suicide if I just  just re-blasted everything I get from everyone every day.

I joined a Fan Page of the previously mentioned church because I knew, through school and volleyball, one of the Campus Pastors – his wife, really. I like them, respect their energy (if not always their message) and sense of humor – always a plus for me. Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a trend – as a social media marketer, not as a commentary on them personally – toward announcements, duplicated on Twitter and Facebook that started to bug me and last night I really had enough after endless peppering of messages coming from everywhere. Like those flying black things in the movie Pitch Black picking at me.

Again, I digress. Professionally speaking, here are my issues. Maybe you do some of them too. If so, knock it off. We’re all trying to figure this out, but social skills are still the same, and still required for it to work. If you’re in the Corpus Christi area, luckily there’s help – Join the Corpus Christi Social Media Club and contribute and learn from some of the ones that get it. If you’re not in the Coastal Bend, find your local chapter.

  • Duplication. Turn off the Twitter to Facebook App. Stop. They are not the same audience. If they are, you’re doing it wrong. Facebook is friends. Twitter is followers.
  • Frequency: Same message, repeated several times within an hour, sometimes with photos (of tired people? Seriously?) to basically just spam it back out. I saw it the first time. I saw it when your wife reposted it. I saw it the second time on your personal wall. I SAW IT, OK?
  • Ending the “teaser” tweet/wall post with “stay tuned” – This is not your television show. I’m not tuning in to you. This, above all else, I think illustrates social media gone off the rails. TALK TO ME. I’ll talk back. That’s engaging.
  • Not answering comments. If you ask a question, and I take the time to answer it, and then an hour later you post the same question – that’s rude. If it’s rhetorical, say so. If you’re just asking to promote your blog posting, without caring about the answer, that’s spammy.

Here’s the takeaway: Stop skywriting. You can’t hear anyone up there. If people hit the “like” button, that’s not conversation, that’s just people down on the beach waving at the plane. Don’t use that as a measurement of success. Get out of the plane and start talking WITH people instead of AT people.

Just calm down. Please. Back away from the “send” or “post” button for a bit. You’ll be glad you did. We all will.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]