There is a great article in the last week’s Advertising Age by Freddie Laker “The Paradox of Interactive Marketing “. He warns against polluting potentially optimal interactive platforms with bombarding users with too much of social media goodies – ads, apps, widgets, contests, games and so on. His main point is that even if the conditions are close to perfect to engage the users in ‘brand experience’ – the user gets so overwhelmed with the choice of interactive opportunities and imposed attention that they get turned off instead. What can be done to stop this over saturation of social media platforms, and how can we make our community to stay with us?
The marketers need to aknowledge the fact that as both quantity and quality of information on the web are increasing, the users’ attention span limits are dramatically decreasing. The new marketing hype these days is the user generated content – but just how many UGC-contests can we participate in? As a result, there is a clear trend that users are leaving not only traditional media channels, but also their favorite websites.
Another problem is that most of the companies who engage is social media, do so quite passively. They might have a presence in form of a group on Facebook or Flickr, or YouTube contest – but it usually ends there. The social media spiral doesn’t take off, but usually just hangs as an unfinished circle, with not much $ to show for.
Now I know this will sound kind of dramatic, but maybe we should stop focusing so much on our products, and ourselves. Maybe we should just listen to our market segment. Ask questions. Give advices. Be there when they need us. Treat them just how we would treat a friend. No selling, no imposing, no campaigns – at least for a while. If we don’t have time to listen to them – why would they listen to us? If we don’t have patience with them – their patience for us is limited to 1 minute per website.
There are a lot of rewards in listening. Imagine that you can get to know your audience like your own pair of hands. Then you can segment even further, and craft even more personalized and relevant messages.
Being there all the time means nothing in comparison to being there exactly the moment when your audience is open for your suggestions.