Did you ever read Steven King’s book “The Stand”? The premise is that disease kills most everyone on the planet and all that is left is the good guys and the bad guys. The good guys want to live peacefully and the bad guys want to use the opportunity to rule the world. Battle ensues.
Well, that scenario is happening now as we propel into the early adolescence of social media. On one side we have the “relationship builders” or “purists”. These are the people that believe that there is tremendous value in “what am I doing?” and connecting with and engaging as many people as humanly possible. They believe that business is ALL about two-way relationships and aren’t interested in putting an ROI on those interactions.
On the other side we have the marketers or “social media users” who see social media tools as opportunities to reach more customers. These people don’t use social media to have more friends, rather, they specifically want to use these tools to get the word out and create some type of ROI for their businesses.
And then of course we have the hybrid people in the middle who do both.
Neither side is wrong, or in my opinion, evil or good. They’re just different. However, that judgment is not shared by all. The relationship builders, most of them, view us marketers as evil while on the other hand, the marketers could care less how the relationship builders use social media. Not fair? Not at all, but reality.
This needs to be said in bold.
Using social media for business doesn’t make you an asshole.
Or evil. Or a liar. Or a cheat.
The vast majority of marketers aren’t assholes. Yet somehow, a small contingent of the population thinks that way. Proper marketing is about making something attractive to a consumer through words, emotion, video, etc… Not telling lies and getting people to buy a shit product or service they don’t need. Quit lumping good marketing in with that, you know better.
Back to social media usage. Yes, relationships do matter. Yes, business is relationships. The purist argument makes a heckuva lot of sense, yes. Us marketers get it. We believe it too. We just have a widely different point of view on it.
We’re trained to look for the ROI in ANY function. That is how our brains work. With social media, we look at the calculation of time spent vs. sales/leads/publicity and we make a conclusion in our heads that we either are gaining or losing that battle.
Now, the other day I wrote a post talking about some of my thoughts on social media that mimic this one. Because of that post and some Twitter bantering, I really cheezed off an associate of mine who probably thinks I’m the biggest a-hole ever now. Unfortunate because I really like this person as they are very smart and fun and I wish to continue to associate with them. But the reality is that I can’t change my feelings on this matter as much as he won’t change his. We’re at an impasse. One that I believe is not such a big deal, while from his perspective, it makes him feel dirty, as much as I disagree.
The moral of this story is. However you use social media, that’s great, good for you. There’s simply zero reason to worry about how someone else does though, and especially not put those people into some type of a-hole category because of it.
Here’s what’s going to happen at some point, however. At some point a relationship builder is going to realize what everyone does. That these tools are fantastic for helping them promote and build a brand, and that eventually, at some point, inevitably, there is going to come a time when they are finding that spending a majority of their time building relationships is going to hurt their growth for their business. This just happened to Dan. If you want even more on that topic, read about Mack’s Twitter engagement experiment.
Unless of course you somehow have learned to make money just by being someone’s friend. I haven’t figured that one out yet.
Social media relationship building WILL help your business, sure. It’s just not going to be anywhere near the top of the list as to why your business was successful. If your goal is to build a better bottom line, there’s simply no argument to this statement. If your goal isn’t to improve your bottom line, everything I just said is not-applicable and bullshit.
But remember that the next time you use social media to promote anything. As I’ve always said, “everyone’s a social media purist until they have something of their own to promote.”
Now get off my lawn you kids! haha. For even more great similar stuff, check out Nathan Hangen’s “Social Media Is A Virus” post.