Social Media isn’t altruistic

Social Media isn’t altruistic

Social Media isn't altruisticI’ve been hanging out in Google Plus (or Google+ or G+ whatever the cool kids are calling it today) for the past week. Overall its been an interesting experience. Because of the low volume of posts last week it was actually very easy to get eyeball time from influencers – as the week has progressed that has become less so. That is to be expected. I see more and more people arriving everyday and unfortunately what comes with them is the mindset that pervades the rest of social networking sites – how do I make this work for me?

Age of the Customer

Of course social media has long been pimped as the hailing the true age of the customer – now its all about you. In presentations I refer to it as the age of entitlement – social MEdia. But honestly the level to which this has risen or at least is noticeable on Google Plus is remarkable. Marketers/Social Media experts talking about the democratization of purchasing, throwing out terms like “customer empathy”, as though, through social media somehow marketing changed and has become this altruistic pastime that only the good, the great and the godly should engage in.

Social media is digital marketing. It is the mechanism through which a brand generates awareness of, interest in, demand for and ultimately action that leads to a sale among its customers and prospects. There is nothing wrong with that, it is a valuable profession and one I am proud to be a part of, so why suddenly are we to be ashamed of ourselves and try and preach to each other (because trust me, consumers could careless) that what we are doing is customer-centric, that social media provides a neutral territory for brands and customers to meet and discuss what is best for both sides?

Feedback is Good

Don’t get me wrong, social media as part of the feedback loop into product design or customer service is a great thing. But marketing? How many marketers have changed a campaign to suit an individual customer or even a group of customers through social media? I’m not talking about brands who have pulled ads because of people challenging it through social media. I’m talking about feedback being incorporated into the marketing creative during the campaign based on feedback from the customer. Of course that hasn’t happened. For those outside the creative process, here is a quick insight into what would happen if you as a marketer, went to the creative team and told them to change their ideas because the customer said so – they would laugh at you.

The day we hand the process over to social media is the day creativity dies.

Image used under CC license - renaissancechambara
About Simon Salt

Simon Salt has been creating online content since 1993 and blogging since 2000. He is an author, speaker and digital strategist. He can be found on most social networks as "incslinger". When he isn't working he is either taking photographs or riding his motorcycle - sometimes at the same time.

  • Lori Barber

    You had me at “It’s actually very easy to get eyeball time from influencers”. Thanks for saying what the social media industry has known all along.

  • Tara D.Coomans

    I completely agree with your sentiment that creativity doesn’t occur under a microscope.  Of course Google is looking for feedback, which is why the initial release was small and focused on early adopters, they expected and wanted feedback. But pushing the envelope of creativity is sure to engender some nay-sayers.  Just like in advertising, your always going to have the consumer who says “That commercial is dumb, dogs can’t drive cars,” so too will G+ have some people who don’t appreciate it, but that’s not to suggest that what Google is trying to do isn’t worth trying. Seeing G+, I now suspect that Wave was designed as a testing ground for G+, when it failed, they took a critical and creative look at why it didn’t work and integrated lessons learned into G+. 
    And to your other point, noticeably absent (thus far) is an official brand presence opportunity like Facebook Pages. I have no doubt it will come, but for now, the experience is lacking brand intrusion (that’s not to say that some brands haven’t created a presence already, but its no different from my profile or yours).  As a marketer, I’m conflicted about this lack of formal brand presence, but as a user, I’m just fine with it.

  • Brad Vetter

    I love the phrase you coined – Social MEdia.  I think Social Needia could be just as applicable