Social Media Is Not Advertising

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This is how "advertising" is described on Wikipedia:

"...a form of marketing communication used to encourage, persuade, or manipulate an audience (viewers, readers or listeners; sometimes a specific group) to take or continue to take some action. Most commonly, the desired result is to drive consumer behavior with respect to a commercial offering..."

Eeek.

While social media does, in fact, persuade and encourage audiences, the idea that it should be used intentionally in that way to "manipulate" an audience to take action seems an affront to the very idea of being social.

Then again...perhaps social circumstances do often by their very nature lead to manipulative situations. From the sandbox to the schoolyard to the workplace...manipulation occurs all over.

Does that make it right?

The sandbox is really for playing, getting to know one another, learning and growing. The fact that sometimes one or another participant may manipulate another doesn't alter the initial intent of the sandbox itself. The sandbox is still a "good" place, a place for fun, laughter and friendship.

So is social media.

As users and as professional organizations, we cannot allow the fact that some companies may use social platforms for their own manipulative purposes to shape what social media truly is.

We cannot give those manipulators that power.

And, most important...we cannot be those manipulators.

Social media provides an opportunity for companies to build trust with their audiences, to be truthful with them, to provide their audience with real value that will encourage and support them.

Companies that recognize that have a great opportunity to create social platforms that will take relationships with their clients to entirely new levels.

So, think of social media not as advertising but as an opportunity to communicate with your audience.

Instead of trying to "manipulate" them into buying your product or service, use your expertise to help solve their problems now. Share your knowledge, and when they come to place where they need to invest in what you offer, they'll have no other thought but turning to you as their solution.

Don't persuade them with deals. Dig deeper. Show them the more that you are. Show them WHO you are...as an organization and a team of people.

You're not a "company" with deals. You're a group of people who have come together to help solve the problems your audience has.

Only you can do it the way you do it, and as they get to know you they'll see just that.

>Don't advertise.

Be authentic. Be yourself. Be real. And have fun in the sandbox.

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4 Comments

Great content distributed to audiences through social media done right helps people see their problems as solvable.

And sometimes in ways that the reader never could have imagined.

Absolutely, Joe! I couldn't agree more.

I am confused by the logic of this post.

Ok, we should not manipulate people using social media.

Well, we shouldn't manipulate people with any media.

But, some people do anyways. And they are naughty.

Why is special about social platforms --that we would want to emphasize that it is naughty to manipulate?

Well, Michael .... I think social media is different from other media and marketing because it is such a personal experience, and an ongoing one that involves developing relationships over time. It's not a billboard you pass by one time. It's not a flyer with a one-time promotion. Unlike many other forms of audience engagement, this one progresses and evolves over time, much as face-to-face client relationships.

Social media demands even more trust in order to build audience relationships, so hence the reason for this article.

Thank you, as ever, for seeing the counterpoint of my argument. :)

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Frances Leary published on March 9, 2015 11:45 AM.

What's New in Franchisor Partnerships? was the previous entry in this blog.

How LinkedIn is Disrupting PR for Franchises by Going Direct to Reader is the next entry in this blog.

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