Social Marketing pundits always seem to drive home the importance of growing your network with the ultimate intent of selling your product or service. Call me a cynic, but this sounds a bit like an online Tupperware Party. You invite all your friends (subscribers) over, serve them a little food (content) and shamelessly hawk your wares.
But it doesn’t end there. In order to become more successful, you must push the limits of your friendships and exploit your Social Network’s goodwill. You ask them to bring their friends to the next Tupperware Party (follow you or friend you), all with the intent of selling to them.
When framed in this light, you might feel sheepish about Social Marketing. So why do it at all?
Google is the most popular kid in school. And Google only likes you if you’re really popular too. It doesn’t take the time to know who you really are – it just looks at what you’re wearing, makes some assumptions about you, and might even acknowledge you on occasion.
But Google is the ultimate gossip – it mostly cares what your friends say about you. So you had better be immensely popular and have a lot of friends if you want Google to invite you to parties or mention you to the other kids.
And how can you fool Google into thinking you’re more popular than you are? Social Marketing. The more your network mentions you, the better your chances are that the coolest kid will recognize you and think you’re cool too.
In fact, you may not realize it, but this blog entry itself is not really intended to inform. It’s a cheap ploy to expand my own Social Network and increase Google Rank. In fact, the sentence you are reading right now contains no content whatsoever and is only included so that the article’s word count is bumped up above a level acceptable to Google.
That said, get to it. Time to throw your next Tupperware Party!
I have really enjoyed my conversation with Steve about this post. I find his opinion to be very interesting. A lot of social engagement has become about closing some deal. Instead of looking at every person you meet as a potential sale, look at them as a potential relationship. It is more than just networking. The relationships we make through social media can be influential and significant. Take look at this friendship with Steve that started over an email comment about a blog I wrote. We went from people out in the blogoverse and now are friends, debating the value of social media relationships. You can’t get much better than that. So maybe look at your social media people as potential friends and relationships and engage because they are interesting and not just because they can build your business. And they will eventually help build your business, if you engage them at an authentic level.
Steve Silberberg is the founder and owner of Fitpacking, an outfitter that guides moderately overweight people on backpacking adventure vacations to get in shape and lose weight. He lives in a suburb of Boston and has a Master’s Degree from MIT if that’s somehow relevant.