I’m sure it’s been written about hundreds of times now but I’m going to relay my own tale of social media connection.
Today I caught a flight from Gatwick to Edinburgh, checked into Foursquare when I landed and caught a taxi. Within 3 minutes of checking in I received a tweet from Ryan’s Bar in the West End of Edinburgh asking that if I was on the Airport Bus as it stops outside and they have some good deals on for food and drink. It wasn’t automated, someone was behind the bar with an iPad and checking the timeline (Georgia, who is also @ideaspotting), thus responding personally to people who were in the vicinity. A quick twitter conversation later and I was out of the taxi after redirecting it and in for food, a gin and a chat (a ginwag lol)
Whilst ordering I’m checking the timeline on Twitter for anything else and I notice Kate (@girlmeetsgeek) is talking about personal brand. I wrote a blog this week about it so popped her a reply asking her to check it out and see if I was wide of the mark. She said she liked it and that gave me a buzz because I don’t talk nonsense after all.
And here’s is the difference. Connection and conversation creates an emotional response and also conversion. Humans are a social creature and by our very nature we actually crave engagement. It’s worked for us as a species for thousands of years, why is it hard for businesses to understand such a basic model ? If Ryan’s Bar had just pushed out an automated marketing message about a food offer I’d have ignored it, but when they responded to a request for free gin I knew instantly there was someone else at the other end and the conversation started. I met her in person behind the bar and it cemented the experience further. Engagement matters and it leads to emotion. It’s also the core of the Gamification concept, it’s no strange coincidence (despite all the game mechanic shenanigans).
Where bland and push based marketing has failed to deliver is it’s inability to create that connection on a human level, and it’s especially prevalent across industries that have no real understanding of social media or a defined strategy for it. A report stating that CEO’s who tweet are more likely to induce a fuzzy feeling about the company is quickly followed by a deluge of hastily created accounts controlled by the marketing department who still hand cut and paste links from the corporate website and expect people to believe the head honcho is online and available for a chat. I came across a recruiter who still has the default ‘twitter egg’ as their avatar. Seriously, it takes 10s to pull the gif from your website and upload as an absolute minimum. LinkedIn is now a breeding ground for cold links, InMail spam and ‘my product is great’ vendor spin when someone asks a related question in a Group. Is there really any intelligence behind some of the activity anymore ? It’s an embarrassing display of social ignorance at times.
Push marketing is an emotionless endeavor. It’s also an activity that isn’t dying fast enough because of the amount of marketeers fearful of social media and those who wield it well. They want to coast to retirement and are happy to knock out a few 1960’s open university style YouTube lectures instead of connecting with the audience on their level. It’s also why some industries are being killed off by it’s own noise, there is no connection with the audience they’re trying to attract.
If there’s was a pseudo-marketing equation it would be something like E=MC2 – Emotion (Engagement) = Marketing x (Conversation x Connection) but to be honest the term ‘marketing’ now leaves me cold because it doesn’t deserve to feature.
It’s one way traffic in a two way street.
Shameful plug: Ryan’s Bar, West End, Edinburgh. The stuffed peppers are fab and were not harmed in the making of this blog. Much.