Social networking is a hype. Say what? Arguing this is like swimming upstream in the flow of twittering linkedin facebookies. But what’s the alternative? Going with the flow, creating or applying yet another Top-10 of Do’s or Don’ts for This or That Social Platform?
There was a time when a bunch of creative and visionary people started playing with social networking concepts. In no time they became the center of attention, with lots of followers, and were able to make a living out of it. Such entrepeneurs still exist but the majority of people involved with social networking nowadays are followers and copycats. That’s fine, but unfortunately many seem to believe social networking is just another bag of tricks.
Take for example the authenticity “trick”. The first CEO’s, Vice Presidents, Support Engineers and R&D Managers that started blogging and twittering in an authentic way introduced a new kind of marketing based on intimacy, conversation and trust. The genuine posts written by those early adopters were read and believed by many potential customers, positively influencing sales figures.
Soon this was picked up by marketeers, massively adopting the new authentic marketing channel (where’s the authenticity in that?). And so it became a trick. In a recent Dutch radio campaign various employees of PricewaterhouseCoopers address the listener and talk about potentially interesting subjects. The point is, however, that these scripts are so obviously produced by a large marketing department trying to imitate authenticity that it is hilarious at best. What started off as spontaneous personal outings has become an industry of professionals offering their customers to help with their authentic advertising. Sounds like a contradiction in terms to me.
Yes, we at Driving the Vortex do read the lists of Top-10 tips about social networking. Then when visiting a customer we forget about it completely and listen to the unique challenges facing them. And if our unique solution involves social networking of some kind (and they often do), then we might apply some of the techniques often encountered as tips. But only to improve the chance of success for our customer, not as a trick upfront.