It’s only fitting that I found inspiration for this social media cartoon from something I read on Twitter. @KathySierra writes, “Please, businesses, don’t DO ‘social media’. Do ‘user happiness’, which may, or may not require use of social media tools.”
It’s interesting to watch the varying ways that business embraces social media. For brands with the right mindset and something useful to say, social media can empower their most evangelical consumers. See the frequent, personal, and transparent approach that innocent follows on facebook (including how they handle criticism on the recent investment by Coke).
As web 2.0 pundit/cartoonist Hugh Macleod says, social media is “a good way to make things happen indirectly, a point lost on many corporate types.”
Too often, brand managers treat social media like direct marketing, with the goal of interrupting a demographic rather than contributing to a meaningful conversation.
See the Habitat faux-pas when they exploited Twitter hashtags to insert irrelevant marketing messages into conversations on the election in Iran. That doesn’t just show bad taste. It shows a traditional marketing mindset at play in a social media world.
The pointer from Kathy Sierra on “user happiness” is exactly right. In contemplating social media, the first question to ask is whether yours is a brand worth sharing. If yes, then social media tools can enable that sharing. If not, it’s time to redirect your energy back to question number one.
This topic reminds me of this other cartoon I drew on buzz marketing a few years ago (which, I just saw from the footer, was the first cartoon I drew after our youngest was born). Takes me back.