It’s Not You, it’s Me

Have you ever been out for a drink with someone who spent the whole evening talking about themselves?  If you have, the chances are that the next time they offered, you found a good excuse why you couldn’t go.

A person who only talks about one thing is dull.  A person who only talks about themselves is bloody rude and dull.  The thing that they have in common is that no-one wants to listen to them.

Traditional advertising was all about speaking to a specific audience and telling them about a particular product, and this works just fine on a one way medium but when you try that kind of approach on line – particularly through a social channel, it comes across like the guy at the party who just wants to tell you how awesome he is, over and over and over  and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.


All too often you see a Twitter Feed like this:

Social Engagement: You're Doing It Wrong

If I followed these guys, my only reward would be the same basic message cropping up in my stream once every 5 minutes or so telling me that I can get a car insurance quote fast.  Useless.  I’m willing to bet that the 268 people who follow this particular company are also auto updating spam feeds that have been set up to auto follow anyone who follows them.  Aside from any limited SEO benefit that this stream of spam might be getting, I would guess that there is zero benefit from this exercise in terms of sales.

Here’s a different way of selling car insurance via Twitter:

Social Engagement: Doing It Better

In this example – which is admittedly from a much larger organisation – the tactic is to provide advice, support, conversation.  Sure, it still links to deals and offers, but it is also much less obtrusive – after all, despite the fact that AllState are tweeting reasonably frequently, they are mostly @messages, which clog up people’s feeds.

On the rare occasions where Allstate post a link within their content, it gets hundreds of clicks because their community is engaged with them.  On the other hand, @uscar_Insurance post the same link around 200 times a day, and it gets around 2 clicks.

Social Media is all about interaction – about being sociable – it’s about relationship marketing rather than product merchandising.  Sure, there is an opportunity to sell, but that should be the secondary goal – think about it as being an opportunity to get to know more about your market rather than just being yet another place where you can stick an ill targeted billboard and hope that the right person sees it.

As a basic rule, the majority of what is said by a person in a conversation should be for the benefit of the person they are talking to.  Keep to the same rule when using social media, and you won’t come across as being aloof, rude, or dull.

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