I received an email from a client this morning through Facebook. It was the second one I received in as many days and I thought, “OK, they’re doing great! They’re active!”

So I followed the link and read the email. It was an announcement notifying me of an event. I thought, “Ok. What else are they saying?”

I looked at all of their recent status updates. Each of them were announcing new events and promotions. Then I read some of the comments that were being made to their announcements. There were 16 people socializing with our client. Of those, 6 were disappointed and complaining about the news. Which is actually OK for a few reasons:

  1. We all know it’s impossible to please everyone.
  2. Statistically, people who are upset are more likely to make it known than people who are happy.
  3. It gives their “friends” an opportunity to stand up for them, creating social capital.

But here’s the first problem. Between the comments of saying this is the best and others saying this is the worst (funny how that happens), there is not a single response from our client. Although their friends are standing up for them, they are saying nothing.

By saying nothing, what are they really saying?

They don’t care.

Here’s the second problem. They’re using social media as an advertising channel for their business, which is a big mistake. Thinking like this will actually hurt more than it will ever help.

Social media is a way for this client to connect and have conversations (be social) with their target market, their friends. Today, they’re using it to make announcements on what they’re offering everyone (advertising) and nothing else.

I suggested they ask people questions, they providing surveys, and they run contests. They must be a FRIEND. You want to create a relationship, not ruin one. So for example, before an event, they should be asking their friends who they think will win. Anyone that comments will also receive all other comments, plus it will post to their wall. This is then seen by their friends and draws more interest. The events are not going to promote themselves.

Remember, you no longer control your brand. Your brand is what people say it is. And it’s being said in the social marketing arena. But although you can’t control it, you can surely help steer it.

Engage, engage, engage. Don’t talk TO your friends, talk WITH them.

Hope this helps!