Building from the Relationship Up, Not the Sale Down.
President, 602 Communications
• Social Media Marketing requires a relationship strategy, not a quick-sale strategy.
• The best social media marketing campaigns make friends first. Only then do they market for a sale.
• Your company must show a personal side and let its hair down a bit.
• Too many companies fail to break out of corporate communication mode.
This slow sauntering incremental marketing is how cars are sold. You don’t see an individual car ad, then go to
the showroom and buy that car. You see a thousand ads over a couple of years. You read about the car in the
press. Pretty soon, you start noticing it on the road. Then, when you’re ready to buy, you’ve been courted for a
Love at first sight doesn’t just happen to people, sometimes it happens to brands too. For myself, it was Frye
boots. When I first strapped on a pair of these beauties, I instantly fell in love with the fit and the moxie of
these devilishly comfortable and refined shoes. But it turns out that what I thought was love at first sight,
ended up being a slow, methodical, wooing courtship that I never actually noticed was happening.
You see Frye had covertly won me over with a masterful under-the-radar PR and social media marketing
campaign that quietly fed my ego. It was subtle – a few devilishly clever fan page posts, a trendy video on
YouTube, and a few ads in men’s magazines.
Before I ever gazed upon their shoes, all of this masterfully subtle groundwork had been done. Then, it went
off like a bomb when I finally saw their product in a local shoe store for the first time. This long and stealthy
courtship had softened me up. When I finally whiffed that heady scent of leather, they had me at hello. I
strapped those bad boys on my feet and instantly attached their wickedly cool brand to my own deluded selfimage.
Those shoes unknowingly transformed me into the dangerous bad boy that I vainly aspire to be.
Social Media Marketing…
Mini Cooper has skillfully built its subversive car brand through careful emotional marketing, not a hard sell. All
that drip marketing has transformed the car in the customer’s mind. It is now no longer just a major purchase.
It is a personal statement that emotional marketing has transformed into a deeply felt statement of identity.
This is the mark of great brands like Werther’s, Cadbury, and Johnson & Johnson. They guide you to devotion
with a thousand little loving nudges, but they never dream of shoving you in front of their brand. This
branding patience is an emotional marketing strategy that jittery branders often lack.
Show a Human Side…
A lot of the new players in the burgeoning world of social media marketing have yet to realize that traditional
hard-sell marketing can be a relationship wrecking strategy. The best social media marketing is a slow and
sophisticated romance, not just an ultimately quantifiable click. It is called social media for a good reason. You
go there for the deliciously slow and gratifying experience of making friends, hanging out, indulging in gossip,
and sharing a more personal side of yourself.
It is this personal connection that so many social marketing sites lack. Take a look at this Facebook page for
TNT’s series “The Closer.” You will notice that every post is written in ad speak. It is full of calls to action, just like
a bad used-car ad. This is clearly an advertising page, not a fan page.
Everyday people who love social media find new friends by searching their feeds for the clever quip, the
passionate retort, and meaningful stories that show a person’s true colors. They are looking for depth. They
distrust the carefully cropped headshot and anything that’s too slick. They are naturally drawn to that great
picture of a person with their kids. When they see relaxed backyard photos of real people, they like what they
Now contrast that page with the page for Fox’s Glenn Beck. He has close to 2 million fans, probably more
people than actually watch his show. He gets personal. He shows his passion for Tea Party politics. Some of his
Obama-bashing posts have more than 5000 comments. Fans get to see an authentic side of the man, and he
transforms those fans into friends. He gives them a backstage pass.
More than half a million people follow Kyra Sedgwick on this page, but she couldn’t be bothered to actually
post anything. Her publicist carefully keeps her fans on the other side of the social media wall, so Kyra doesn’t
need to actually communicate with these commoners.
Sure, social media can sometimes drive a direct sale, but that is not its primary function. Social media is about
building trust. It softens the ground so the seed of a sale can take root and grow. Social media is a relationship
strategy, not an advertising strategy. It is about getting people to spend more time with your brand, which
will ultimately drive purchasing, but not right away. Social media is not designed to be a topical driver to your
Turning social media fans into paying customers is a VERY hard thing to do. This is because most marketers do
not understand the long, slow sales curve that social media requires
This time-honored process of mutual disclosure is the foundation of social media and its most powerful
recruiting characteristic. Far too many social media marketers want to bypass this slow seduction in favor of
a hard-sell, quick fix that usually brands them as a jerk with a selfish agenda. Most brands never let their hair
down. They never show a personal side. All the communication smacks of traditional ad speak – carefully
controlled, reeking of an inauthentic plastic sheen. These interlopers treat fans and friends like cattle to be
driven to market. Their message: I care about you, but only if you buy something from me.
Making Friends is about Opening Up…
The potential customer will join you on social media, see all the cool stuff you’re doing, get to know your brand,
and get to be friends with your company. Slowly, they will start to identify with your brand values. Then, when
they are ready to purchase, you will be their choice. You are their friend, and they have a personal connection
to you. This means they probably won’t just be a friend, they’ll be a loyal fan who will come back to purchase
again and again.
So remember that the smart strategy is to forgo the quick fix. Social media marketing is a long slow process
that is powerfully effective. It builds incredible fan loyalty…but not quickly. It has its roots in PR, not advertising.
Social media bonds can be incredibly strong, deep and loyal, but they usually don’t come fast. With this new
medium, you must take the long view.
President, 602 Communications
602communications Inc. 2011 All Rights Reserved