The festive season of parties and commitments is upon up. As I look at my calendar of double and triple social bookings piling up, it got me thinking about what attracts us to these gatherings, how we conduct ourselves there, and how this is similar to the characteristics of good marketing. First up a confession: it’s not that I’m THAT popular, but the gatherings that have been planned have all collided. So why make the time in your schedule for a third evening event? The host is key – they arranged a good party, sent out the invitations, made it entertaining, and through their planning ensured social interaction, the exchange of ideas and conversation and an all round good time. Your ‘community’ was going to be there.
What if the host stood on a podium and dominated the conversation? What if there were few people to interact with? What if you thought it was a social gathering, but it turned into a pitch for something leaving you mislead? I’ve willingly attended some of those and ended up in a dash for the door and spent the next day shaking off the experience.
Good parties and good marketing share some common threads. It used to be we could push out our message to a captive audience. Print ads or TV commercials placed in media with a broad enough reach that the majority of readers and viewers would be exposed would do the trick. It was the equivalent of the host planning a party, grand standing with their message, and everyone dutifully appearing and doing what they were told. This usually meant buying stuff. With the availability of online interaction with customers through blogs, social networking sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Youtube, there is a great opportunity to engage in an exchange of information. Think of it as the good party host who provides entertainment and invites a great group of people. However, this can still go horribly wrong if the guests break the ethics of good communication based on honesty. If they mask in some way who they are speaking for, obscure their own identity in some way, or don’t share their honest thoughts. In this particular case, the host and guests are businesses who are trying to use social media for business gain, but going about it incorrectly. The web is littered with examples. Here’s a few.
Ford Bold Moves: (like they need more trashing right now) http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/15155.asp
The good stuff:
Social media is simply content that people connect to and want to pass along to their friends. Go ahead and invite them to the party. Inspire them. Make them laugh, cry or think about things differently. Be a good host. When you do this, an amazing thing happens – your guests take on the role of marketers and spread the word.