The Social Media Examiner recently reported that 92 per cent of marketers consider social channels crucial for their business. That’s a lot of people. But in our age of big data, ad-retargeting, in-app purchases and automated ad buys, are they in danger of overlooking something vital about social media? Like humans, maybe?
Two social media engagement experts have recently declared that too many marketers are forgetting about the reason people started using social networks in the first place: to interact with one another, to build a sense of online fellowship. Social media campaigns that disregard the human connections are likely to be pretty lame affairs.
Writing in The Guardian, digital expert Chris McCrudden makes a killer point:
“People have been using tools to get jobs done since an ape somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa two million years ago worked out you could get the marrow out of bones by bashing them with a rock. Social media is our latest version of that rock, but all the technology required to build a Facebook, a Twitter or a YouTube is useless without a human intelligence to animate it.”
Digital engagement specialist, Blagica Bottigliero, strongly agrees. She thinks marketers, in their rush for big wins like multiple repins and regrams, have lost touch with consumers and no longer understands them. With a simple example, she illustrates this missing connection vividly.
Bottigliero’s mum, now in her late 50s and not having a Twitter account (she barely touches Facebook), has picked up that it’s possible to speak to brands through social media. When something in the house breaks, she asks her daughter to tweet to Brand X on her behalf. When Bottigliero explained that different brands have different social media strategies, and some won’t respond individually unless the individual concerned is obviously an influencer or evangelist, she asked a simple question: “So…is my question not important?”
People don’t like feeling like that. Bottigliero passionately advocates the reinstatement of the human dimension: individuals who get their daily conversations acknowledged can quickly turn into an army of brand ambassadors. For McCrudden (who had authors in mind), the human relationships come before marketing – taking part in daily conversations with people who have an interest in the content or brand is the prelude to marketing, not an optional afterthought.