ADOTAS – The last show I went to was a Madonna concert. Though the she put on a great show, it was annoying to have my view obstructed by all the people holding their cell phones over their heads in order to photograph or record the show.
I was reminded of that feeling when I read Charlie White’s insightful piece on Mashable about social media, featuring Louis C.K.’s clip from Conan about hating social media. In the video, C.K. claims that we can’t experience anything unless it’s via a small screen (and a social platform). And White comments that at spectacular events, people are busy photographing the event on their smartphones instead of experiencing it.
Are the very platforms designed to make us more social actually making us less social? As a publicist working in online advertising, I have to stay abreast of all the new social platforms, but on a personal level, I have definitely cut my use of social media. When a friend with whom I had lost contact reached out to me via Facebook, I moved the exchange to email because I wanted more depth than is customary on the social network.
So how should online marketers take this information to improve their use of social media?
- Provide real value – I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to be friends with any of the products I buy. I’m happy to support a cause and “friend” a product that’s tied to a cause, but that’s not the case with 99 percent of the products and services I buy. There are ways, though, for marketers to provide value through social media. In in-game advertising on social networks, companies like SupersonicAds (disclosure: a client) enable marketers to provide players with virtual currency, which helps them progress in the game in exchange for viewing a video ad. That’s an example of advertising providing real utility. As an industry, we need to find more ways to provide consumers with value.
- Don’t interrupt – So much advertising is disruptive. But social media advertising doesn’t have to be disruptive. How can it steer away from that tendency? By being more relevant. Most social networks have amassed a treasure trove of information about our likes and interests. How hard is it to serve ads that are tied to one of our areas of interest, instead of the weight loss ads I see all too often when I log into a social network?
Advertising on social media is definitely the future. As a publicist, most of my agency’s growth in 2011 came from Facebook-related client activities, and I’m excited by the potential. But as marketers, we need to learn the language of social networks and find new, more effective ways to engage with prospects in social media.