Reason #10 Why Your Social Media Sucks: “It’s All About Me”-ism

Mar 2012

Welcome to our new series “Top 10 Reasons Why Your Social Media Sucks,” where we point out many common mistakes that prevent businesses from reaching the full potential of their social media marketing. Stay tuned for more missteps, errors, faux-pas, and boo-boo’s every Monday and Wednesday ’til the list runs out!

The Problem

guyIf you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might notice that I’ve only recently started using the term “social media marketing.” The reason: I hated it. I still kind of hate it.

Why? Because if taken literally, the term implies that all social media requires is transplanting the same old marketing messages from traditional venues into your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube feeds.

Which brings us to the first mistake that could be blocking your social success: the idea that it’s all about you.

I can hear the protestations from here: “But I’m not making it all about me. My products/services help people, and I’m just making them aware of how I solve their problems …” I don’t doubt that for a second, champ. The thing to keep in mind is that audience attitudes in the socialverse are completely different from their attitudes in traditional marketing venues.

Join me in a little creative visualization:

Scenario 1: You’re sitting at a coffee shop with three or four of your friends, chatting about work, home, kids, hobbies, whatever. All of a sudden an acquaintance saunters up to your table and starts trying to sell you on her latest pyramid-marketing venture. Annoyed, you decline as politely as possible, and she walks away … only to come back 5 minutes later with the same spiel. And so it goes, over and over again.

Scenario 2: Now imagine the same scene … only this time, your acquaintance is one of the people at your table. She engages in the group chat about work, home, kids, hobbies, whatever, and occasionally she mentions her business and the products or services she provides.

Which scenario is more likely to lead to a sale for our marketer friend?

In many ways, social media is like that coffee shop, where you go to interact with friends and family, and if a brand you already know and trust pops up the occasional marketing message, you don’t mind … in fact, you might just buy what they’re selling.

The Solution

The “know and trust” part of that statement brings us to the secret sauce in social success: engagement. If you consistently engage your audience by providing content that resonates with their interests, the marketing messages you do put out there will fall on more welcoming ears.

One of my favorite examples of this practice is Secret’s Facebook Page (which, incidentally, is totally rocking the new Timeline layout). Sure, they’re selling deodorant, but their Page is about so much more: female empowerment, courage, active lifestyles. Check out a few of their recent posts, and note the number of likes, shares, and comments:






Sure, the brand pops in  the occasional marketing message, but it’s posts like the ones above that earn them the permission to do so.

Oh, and have I mentioned that the Page is also pushing 1.5 million fans?

Turnaround Tips

  • Find out what your target audience’s interests are.
  • Build an editorial calendar around those interests.
  • Follow the 80/20 Rule: 80% of your posts should engage your audience by speaking to their interests, while no more than 20% should contain marketing messages.
  • Measure your results and adapt as needed.

So, do you have any first- (or second-) hand experience with the perils of “It’s All About Me”-ism? Tell us about it in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!

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1 Comment

  1. […] Read more about the cure for “it’s all about me”-ism […]

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