Social Means Let’s Talk – Talking Is Interaction, Not A Transaction

Laura Vanderkam writing on the Reuters blog, peels some of the unseemly gloss from the lips of social media marketing.

Many are doing it solely for the social outlet. Or something … But in an economy where 26% of us, according to a Kelly Services survey, consider ourselves free agents, many view it as something more. Namely, free advertising. And so, the world of social media marketing gurus is exploding, all with the promise that social media will let you connect with customers like never before. But if by “connecting” you mean eventually getting them to buy something from you, I’m not buying that.

Later in her piece Vanderkam cites branding expert Dan Schawbel’s finding that 70% of people who “fanned” a brand said they didn’t feel they’d given that company permission to market to them.
The conclusion that social media is not a good direct sales channel is an easy one to make. Yet, there’s a lot more to brand building than direct sales, even though improving sales is the ultimate goal of, and reason for, brand building.
I might add that building one’s brand in the social space is a delicate matter and one that’s difficult to get right. It’s very easy to push on the gas and pitch, pitch, pitch. I see people who I know and like doing this all the time. And that’s the problem. Whether pitching or not, every new bit of information that people put online — this article for instance! — is one more thing competing for the attention of an intended audience. But that attention is now a seriously diminished resource, thanks to an unprecedented explosion of media, advertising and entertainment.
Yet, we can’t seem to stop or even to slow down. Once the accelerated pace of digital life becomes YOUR LIFE, you become ill equipped to deal with digital down time. Which leads me to ask where is this all going? To a higher place or over a cliff?



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.