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“Let us speak, though we show all our faults and weaknesses – for it is a sign of strength to be weak, to know it, and out with it…” -Herman Melville
Put simply, Social Networks are about how individuals communicate and interact with each other in their quest to reach a certain goal.
Well, it seems simple until you look up the definition of communication. There seems to be an unlimited amount of studies and types of communication as well as communication barriers.
Yet people have a great longing to be heard and to connect with other people who understand them and share similar interests. Perhaps that is why there seems to be an unlimited amount of social network sites popping up and being populated at an unprecedented speed.
But have your consumers and clients gathered on these sites just so that they can become an easy target for advertising?
A little over a decade ago, I started to observe that people are tired of being sold to, but everyone is longing for a connection.
What I was discovering and have since discovered is that the Internet has evolved in such a way that we are able to find and connect with people of like minds and like interest. Through simple searches and peer to peer connections, people are discovering vast amounts of information, entertainment, and inspiration that is relevant to them. They are developing trusting relationships with people from all over the world and communicating ideas, sharing secrets, and getting advice.
Those of us in marketing (myself included) exclaimed, “wow! focus groups, behavior targeting, improved metrics, and word of mouth marketing on steroids.” But these sites were not originally created to segment us into groups of target audiences. These sites are intended to be a community.
As stated in The Cluetrain Manifesto, “The Internet became a place where people could talk to other people without constraint.”
For the most part, those participating in online social networks welcome the targeted ads. It helps to pay for the space they are playing in and they can discover new services and products of which they talk about and share ideas and stories about.
The question is, are the advertisers and brands listening? There is a great conversation going on, and it may be relevant to you. You can join in if you follow the rules of authenticity and sincere interest.
The marketplace has never really been B2B or B2C, it has always been about p2p, people to people and the relationships and trust they develop. The Internet is bringing us back to that reality.