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June 2010

when $$$ distract from real business

The allure of "cashing out" on Facebook holds serious promise to marketers and agencies looking to validate the business value of social media.  However alluring it may be, cashing out too soon is rarely good for the community and ultimately adversely effects the marketing and real business of relationship marketing taking place.


I love the Toy Story franchise.  I seriously enjoyed the Pixar movies... all of them.  I was in high school when the last movie came out and dragged my friends to go see it.  And do you know what?  When word got out that a couple of us were going to see it, others joined in.  Everybody knows that deep down they love a good kids movie.  I was and continue to be a Toy Story advocate.

Unfortunately, someone at Disney or their agency made a poor decision.  In an effort to boost sales at the box office, they pumped up their peer-sharing features on Facebook a little too heavily.  Here's the real insight: people are people (deep, I know).  We love to connect, we love to feel special, we love a sneak peak.  But we don't appreciate a violation of our social contract.  We don't appreciate when a promotion "spams" our friends. 

Will I still see Toy Story 3?  You bet.  Do I still have a strong affinity for Disney and Pixar?  Abso-freaking-lutley.  Did I still try out their Facebook application?  Yup, but more out of curiosity.  Did it make me feel a heightened sense excitement?  Maybe, but this excitement was irrelevant to the e-commerce capabilities.  Did the e-commerce "spam" in the follow through add to my affinity for the brand or desire to share?  No.

This is just my personal opinion.  I think the opportunities for e-commerce in Facebook are incredible when they meet and drive affinities while respecting personal boundaries.  Respect is difficult to gauge, but the fine line will define the long term business value of e-commerce in the channel.  I loved most elements of this execution, just not sure it hit the mark in the follow through.  Try it for yourself here.

Hat tip to Dan Nosowitz and CC Chapman for sharing.

The hell we've created

4326506875_1ed6876e80_b Misery loves company.

People are far more likely to complain than they are to compliment.

Social media makes us far too loud, and the result isn't good for any of us.

Sure, in the short-run we may get better or faster access to customer service, discounts and free "influencer trials" of products, books, services etc.  But are we any happier?  Is all this negativity this making us more negative as a society?

There are literally dozens of brands that want to engage in social, want to start an open an real dialogue but are afraid of the craziness that they witness when they listen to the conversation.  Influencers are acting like divas, making unrealistic and unfair demands, even threatening brands with their audience as a weapon.  And this gets worse in private.  The private emails I have been shown are startlingly childish.  The brands may have made mistakes along the way but the response from many members of the community is unbelievable.  The damage to the industry is only heightened when these same complainers take the podium at industry events, putting all of us in perceived bad company.

We can do better than this.  We can get better service by working with brands than against them.  We owe it to the social champions at brands who have helped us.  We owe to them to not only behave better, but to say thank you in writing.  You have no idea how much good your thank-you emails do for the social champions at these brands. 

And so, you have a choice.  You can yell and scream and increase your own stress levels, or you can act like a decent human being, extend a hand of partnership to the brands your encounter along the way and help build this industry together.

The choice is yours.