Monday, December 6, 2010

The Big Mistake so many Make

One mistake I see being made by businesses using social media is that they think it can be all about them. Traditional marketing is all about getting your message in front of people... and your message is all about you, your company, your product or your service.  We use traditional web sites in this way.  Go to the TI, Ford, or Wal-Mart websites and you will see that almost all the information is about their products.  The customer goes to their website when they want this sort of information.

However, social media is different.  It serves a different purpose which is why it is so hot right now.  Most corporate marketing types can not get their head around this.  Social media is all about building relationships with your customer.  You are not going to build much of a relationship if all you do is talk about yourself.

I am reminded of a person I met at a social event about 6 months ago.  He looked lonely so I struck up a conversation.  I quickly found out why he was lonely.  He talked and talked about himself and never paused for me to get a word in edgewise.  He talked about the railroad industry and why it is in trouble right now.  At first, he was moderately interesting...until he started talking about the design work he'd done.   He was able to reduce cross axial vibrations by 19% which reduced the damage to goods and the friction between the wheels and the rails.  This permitted cars to carry 14% larger loads.... I introduced him to an unsuspecting person who just happened to be standing there and then I slipped quietly away.

Now, if I ever need information on cross axial vibrations, I will find that guy again and have the conversation, but chances are, I am going to avoid him in the future.  He did not provide me with anything interesting or useful.  He is a walking encyclopedia full of information I do not need.

What about you as a marketer? How are you using social media?  Are you providing information which a potential customer might find useful or are you telling them too much about yourself and the products you want to sell to them?  You can not just post anything on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and expect it to generate interest in your product.  You have to build interest in yourself by building a relationship with a group of people who will eventually be involved in purchasing your product.

Don't let your social media marketing be like the author about whom Moses Hadas said, " This book fills a much-needed gap."

More on what to write in the next post.

James Snider is a marketing consultant, responsible for developing the 3.4 billion dollar 1394/FireWire market. James has over 16 years of marketing experience with 7 years working for Fortune 100 companies, 8 years as executive director of a non-profit and, since the summer of 2009, as a strategic business development consultant.

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