Kill The Messenger, Not The Message


The social marketing tsunami continues to roll.  You can barely open a newspaper, blog, or
start a conversation without the words Facebook or Twitter coming up. The
allure of creating “true” one-to-one relationships with strangers is seductive.  At the personal level, it is at once
exhilarating and yet a little scary. For the marketer, it is only exhilarating.
For the first time, marketers have the ability to effortlessly reach out and
touch customers and prospects with completely personalized messages.  What’s more, it is basically free. Nirvana.


But wait. Doesn’t this sound familiar?  Fifteen years ago, many of the same things
were being said about the first generation Internet.  All we needed to do then, was hang out our
virtual shingle and “they would come.”  The
frenzy to get online was not unlike today’s frenzy to get on Facebook and
Twitter. But what happened?  Well, soon everyone
was online and there were too many sites to visit, there was too much marketing
noise, and marketers found themselves back at square one. That is the same
thing that is happening today with Web 2.0.



On the other hand, there are many companies who successfully
used Web 1.0 and are now using Web 2.0 technologies to do real business. What’s
the secret?  Here are some take-aways.



Social media are a set of
technologies. Technologies are always a means, not an “end.”  Too many people are in the socio-sphere
without a marketing strategy. Case in point – how many tweets and Facebook
updates have you gotten recently shamelessly pushing products or services?  The folks posting these updates belong to the
Viagara “email school of marketing.”  Honestly,
do people really think that anyone will react to this?

It all starts with the message.
Social media offer channels to communicate with a community, but the message must
be sincere and provide value to both parties. Hey, I don’t want to someone
ringing my doorbell in the offline world, I sure as heck don’t want them doing
it in the online world  If you want to be
my friend online, connect with me. This works well for things like hobbies and
for causes I really care about.  It
doesn’t work for many products and services – for those folks….I say, stay

A robust marketing program must
include subtle touch points as well. If people trust the messenger, the message
gets through a lot better. For example, many companies have successfully
created blogs that provide objective information to their constituents.  Post shouldn’t be measured for lead
generation.  Creating a place where
people come to rely on you for valuable information is a good thing. Credibility
and sincerity translate help you cut through the noise when it counts.



Bottom line.   I say, “let the message talk and the messenger


About the author

A technology strategist for an enterprise software company in the collaboration and social business space. I am particularly interested in studying how people, organizations, and technology interact, with a focus on why particular technologies are successfully adopted while others fail in their mission. In my 'spare' time, I am pursuing an advanced degree in STS (Science, Technology, and Society), focusing on how social collaboration tools impact our perceptions of being overloaded by information. I am an international scholar for the Society for the History of Technology.