Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 12, 2011 6:33 AM

It's Not Me... It's You

When two people get tired of one another, it doesn't take long for the break-up to occur. Why should Social Media be any different?

If you're in any kind of relationship, you're well aware of the delicate intricacies and the dynamics that take place for everything to work smoothly. The best of relationships are the ones that can survive the rocky times and the relationships that last throughout time are the ones where both parties understand not only the emotional intelligence of one another but are willing to make concessions for the sake of the relationship (and yes, this often includes major personal sacrifices). When brands say that because of Social Media, they would like to have a relationship with a customer, you have to wonder if they're really using the same kind of definition as the one applied to our personal relationships? If you dig a little deeper, it feels like they would just like their customers to buy more from them and be more loyal to them.

Real interactions between real human beings.

This is what makes Social Media so different from other kinds of connections, communications and marketing opportunities. Historically, there hasn't been that many brands who have really been able to make these relationships work - in the truest sense of the definition. Yesterday, Marketing Charts, published the news item, Overposting Drives Away Facebook Fans. "Virtually tying overposting as a top reason for unliking a brand on Facebook is having an overcrowded wall (43%, more than one answer permitted). Other leading reasons include content becoming boring and/or repetitive (38%), and only liking a company to take advantage of a one-time offer (26%)." And with that information from a new Exact Target and CoTweet report, we also learn that: "Fifty-five percent of Facebook users have liked a company and then decided they no longer wanted to see its posts. In addition, 51% say they rarely or never visit a brand once they have liked it. A full 71% of fans say they have become more selective about what brands they like." 

Is this a surprise to anyone?

If another human being shows interest in you, the last thing you should do - if you're really trying to build a long-term relationship with them - is to smother them (physically, emotionally and verbally). The best of relationships take time (slow and steady)... and that's the major challenge: brands (and Marketers) just can't help themselves. The moment they see something working, they see it like a stuffed sack of potatoes that they just can't help but keep stuffing until it bursts.

The ray of sunshine...

"Report data show that a consumer's decision to 'unlike' a company has surprisingly little impact on the perceived likelihood that they will buy from that company in the future. In total, 63% of consumers said they were as likely or more likely to purchase something from a company after ending their Facebook relationship. Another 18% said they only 'unlike' a company if they never bought anything in the first place."

The Social Break-up.

What's the lesson? Relationships that truly mean something are tough to build and are a difficult balancing act to maintain. The real challenge for brands in overcoming this is to understand that they don't "own" the customer anymore. It's much more of a reciprocated relationship than ever before, so if there's not a lot of value (equally, across both parties), we're going to get scary results like this. The next phase? Let's find the brands that run anathema to this report and dig in to deep to help explain to everyone else what they're doing right and why consumers stay so connected to them.

The Social Break-up is something we have to pay close attention to.

By Mitch Joel