Nigel Hollis has a nice post on the challenges of brands entering social media as of late…often blind and desperate:
Most brands have nothing to contribute to the social interaction that takes place on the sites, because they don’t fit in and they don’t add anything of value…
[B]ringing something of interest or value is just the “price of entry.” A brand needs to reach out to people, not sit and wait for people to seek it out. It needs to initiate conversations, not just react to them. And of course, that’s the trap for most brands. They confuse social media with traditional communication channels, and they do what they know: talk at people instead of with them.
The truth is that there are only a few communication channels that actually enable a conversation: e-mail, instant messenger, mobile phone, blogs and message boards. And most brands have neither the bandwidth nor the experience to hold an interesting and individual conversation with their consumers.
I commented that there is an underlying point here: that brands usually don’t give a damn about listening to people, only averages and masses. That’s demeaning to people and creates artificial walls between companies, employees and the customers they’re supposed to be serving.
With marketers increasingly losing the invitation by consumers to enter into their lives, the most successful marketers will be those that learn the art and science of valuing attention, learning to read and anticipate gestures, and, most importantly, respecting the consumers they have wrongly called “masses” for so long.