Retarded thinking on social media

Originally published at B2BMarketing.net 25 September 2012

This morning, for some reason, my email was not working quite right. I had 4 messages in my inbox – and that was just too few, and none were dated today. A quick reload of my browser (I use Google Apps) and all was normal again – nearer to 20 messages.

And amongst those messages I saw it… that email, entitled “Energysys Production Allocation and Corporate Social Media”…

I’m normally fairly open with most of my email addresses, and similarly will be open to fellow LinkedIn Group members being able to send me messages, as I feel that being open, connected and responsive is, in general, a good thing. Perhaps hard work at times, but it’s good for me. I learn things, I’m reminded of things, I catch extra information, I see patterns. However, there are times when you have to wonder at that choice, because what arrives in your inbox is so irrelevant, so desperate, or just so wrong, that you want to change your name and move to Patagonia.

Here’s the proposition I received this morning:

Hi David, 

I hope you’ve had a good day so far in Edinburgh? 

I hope you don’t mind me reaching out, but I thought this may well be of interest. 

Two corporate examples on social media from Brand X and Brand Y that look at how you can boost customer interaction and increase brand loyalty, show you how to provide engaging experiences for your customers through social media and measure the return. 

To download the presentations head to http:// (URL removed to protect the guilty).

I hope these are of use.

Best,
Name

Pretty compelling, isn’t it?

And of course, the URL led to a classic landing page asking for just my first name, email and country, and I’d be getting this valuable content right to my inbox. Great. Or rather, terrible.

If I want to know about social media success stories, I want to hear about them because they really have boosted customer interaction or increased brand loyalty. In other words, I want to hear about them on the grapevine – through social media. I want industry blogs and sites like B2B Marketing, E-Consultancy and The Next Web to be all over it. I want it to be in my Twitter streams, and filling my Google+ circles. I want to hear about it in its correct context – socially. I don’t want to get an email about it, offering me yet another email, sucking me in to a ‘corporate social media summit’.

Some idiot invading my inbox telling me how I can learn how to measure returns just like Brand Y is likely going to tell me that, just like him, Brand Y invades inboxes in old-style interruptive marketing to measure its results. And I know that, should I decide to share my details, and obtain these wondrous insights, I’m going to get more emails. And I think: why would I want more emails about social media? It’s not the appropriate medium.

They just don’t get it

And I am also now thinking – these people don’t get social media at all. They need to push interruptions into my inbox to sell their wares, which sound terribly familiar – and those brands are a little bit ‘dark blue suits’. A quick check on LinkedIn for the individual named on the web site (they at least had a social touch there), and I see that the photo doesn’t match the LinkedIn photo at all, but the job title matches.

  • But no recommendations.
  • No books they read or wrote.
  • No skills or expertise tags.
  • No presentations.

And then there’s that terrible tell-tale element in the company’s industry sector: Public Relations and Communications. Ugh. Now my prejudices are confirmed – they don’t get social media.

At least they personalised the subject, and inserted Edinburgh into my message, showing a little bit of care. Albeit they sent it when my day in Edinburgh was only 3 hours after midnight. And they apologised for spamming me, which is, well, at least self-aware. But as it turns out, I’m not in Edinburgh right now. Which you might know if you were really ‘enagaging me socially’. And you’d also know that my view is that using the word corporate alongside the word social is in essence an oxymoron.

But at least I got a blog topic from it.

 

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