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Why Won't Brands Be Social On Social?

ImageI’m a consumer, and I want to be loved. I deserve to be loved. I spend hundreds of dollars with my favorite brands every year.

Many of these brands advertise to me over my social channels to stay top of mind and try to send me to the point of purchase. But, the problem is their advertisements don’t speak to me.

Twitter’s stated mission is “to instantly connect people everywhere to what is most meaningful to them.” That doesn’t exactly sound like an advertising ethos to me.

In a similar vein, WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell puts it simply enough about Facebook: "the point is that Facebook is a social medium, not an advertising one, like search or display," he told the Guardian. "It certainly is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful branding medium. It is, however, a word of mouth or PR medium. You interrupt social conversations with commercial messages at your peril."

If you’re a brand on social media, you need to be social. Is that really that hard to understand?

Social advertising is great for brand awareness, but not so great for driving me to do much more.

There’s an easy solution that’s being overlooked. It’s something marketers have been doing for years at this point, but unfortunately it hasn’t made it’s way to social.

For the last decade, my favorite brands have addressed me directly in email communications. It’s gotten to the point where I expect to have my favorite brands address me by name, and if they don’t, well, good luck getting me to do much.

Surprisingly enough, when it comes to social, this practice is not commonplace. If they can address me by name via email, why can’t they do the same in social?

When it comes to social publishing, brands are speaking to the masses. The posts may be informative, but more often than not, they don’t resonate with me like the ones from people I know.

On the other hand, when reacting to my mentions, brands are engaging with me directly. It makes me feel valued when a number of brands address me by name in responses.

So why can’t they apply the same thought process to proactive engagements? I’ve made a ton of information about myself readily available across the web -- as a brand, you should know what I want, and when you do, make sure I notice through direct marketing messages rather mass advertising.

If my favorite brand spoke directly to me, i’d surely listen. Better than that, I’d be flattered.

Want to know what else I’d do? I’d turn around and tell my friends. What better place to broadcast how special I am than on Twitter? I would vocalize that pleasure to everyone.

But, it doesn’t just have to be messages either. If my favorite brand took a simple social impression and followed me, I’d be flattered. Coca Cola’s Wendy Clark always talks about being shareworthy. If Coca Cola followed me, that’s often more shareworthy than a response.

Advertising has never been personalized. Personalized responses have become a step in the right direction, but then again, they are becoming commonplace so how do you stand out as a brand as Twitter continues to mature?

The answer is simple: don’t wait for your fans to talk to you -- go talk to them. Take a proactive mentality.

Brands need to be human. Brands need to be social.

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