Social media is about authenticity, transparency and making a real connection. While we have a multitude of ways to connect and interact today, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – the “original” internet tool for social networking was actually email. In Social Media is Consumer Controlled Conversations I wrote:
About a decade ago, there was another bright shiny techno-bauble being lauded as the magic marketing technology anyone could use to effortlessly build their business – an online email newsletter. Just because the hype has moved on doesn’t mean that any of these “past” beauty queens are not still lovely when viewed through the lens of creating marketing magic. As a matter of fact, none of these technological tools ever officially ended their reign as valuable online marketing tools. Smart business owners didn’t drop their email newsletter when social media came knocking – they used social media to build their list.
Ah – the email newsletter is still one of the most powerful “social media” tools you can use to build your business. With that said – an email newsletter that arrives addressed to “insert_name_here” is a shining example of how NOT to run ANY social media marketing campaign.
What makes this even more amusing or sad – depending upon your point of view – is the fact that the email that arrived with that greeting went on to lament how poorly this particular organization’s social networking efforts were performing.
“I wrote a blog post today that expresses my frustration with the recent lack of involvement from our members. I encourage you all to read it as it is very important this message gets across.”
By the way, there was no LINK to the blog post in question within the email – only that we were all supposed to FLOCK to the organization’s blog.
I’m posting my reply here so that perhaps someone can learn from this social media marketer’s mistakes.
Dear Social Media Marketing Wannabe,
It’s sad to see that you are blaming the failure of your half- assed attempts at social media marketing on the members of your organization’s community.
Let’s limit this conversation to the most recent email sent by your organization. I have to tell you that “insert name here” is a terrible way to start a conversation – and that’s what social media is all about – conversation!
I can’t say I was surprised that the email message whichwas addressed to “insert name here” contained a message of frustration because of a lack of involvement from your organization’s community.
Community is more than subscriber numbers – whether it’s email newsletter subscriber numbers, RSS subscriber numbers or the number of Twitter followers you have.
Community means connectivity and conversation. I know I speak on behalf of other members of the oranization when I say that we’re a busy group. We need to be reminded that we’re part of your community. While email communication via a newsletter is by nature one way – it can be a very effective way to remind us of the conversation going on over at the blog. That’s why email newsletters and blogs go together like peanut butter and jelly – they compliment each other perfectly.
The salutation in this email tells me everything I need to know about how you view the members of your “community.” We are obviously sheep to be herded, shorn and eventually slaughtered. You’re obviously disappointed that we haven’t been “fruitful and multiplied” – doing the heavy lifting of marketing the organization without so much as an acknowledgment of our first name.
The problem lies in the fact that marketing is not a mindless task – and we’re not mindless sheep. We’re people. In your organization’s case, I have ignored your repeated attemtpts to “befriend” me via various social networks. If you were paying attention – this should have been your first clue that your social media strategy wasn’t making a connection. I have no idea what your “numbers” are like for the various social media sites – but I’m confident that even if they are impressive – that you’re only building the ILLUSION of community.
Your lack of ability accept responsibility for your obvious social media marketing mistakes is a sign that this blog post will be here long after your organization has closed it’s doors. I won’t name your organization because I don”t want this blog post to serve as a lightning rod of discontent for your organization.
There’s no way I’d encourage anyone to join your organization. I wish I hadn’t.
In the end, I’m sure you will blame your “stupid, inept, uninvolved” members for your organization’s eventual demise. I’ll happily accept full blame. It is my fault. You entrusted me to market your organization for you and I refused to do so. I refused to put my reputation on the line for you and I can see my fears were well justified.
Not just a mindless sheep or a faceless number