May 17th, 2012
You’re at a banquet filled with cacophonous chatter, barely able to hear the person on your right. It’s time for the program to begin. The guest speaker ascends the podium as the MC quiets the crowd, so the speaker can take control of the audience.
Taking control of the audience. Complicated concept? Hardly. Yet, “the enlightened” have discounted it via blind infatuation with social media, believing that technology magically renders obsolete the immutable laws of human behavior.
Audience control, the antithesis of social media, is paramount to success. To wit, here’s a confounding, self-defeating practice I see everywhere: companies asking prospects to leave their Websites — their primary branding platforms — to “see us on Facebook and ‘like’ us.” Huh? Can you imagine a maître d’ greeting you and then asking you to leave his restaurant?
I’ve attended investor meetings during which the presenting entrepreneurs, obsessed with creating something — anything — in social media, pitched the most-absurd company ideas imaginable. They weren’t trying to solve real problems; they were robotically perpetuating flavor-of-the-month technology.
Social media are the online equivalents of uncontrollable, noisy rooms. Aren’t we always eager to leave noisy rooms? At a noisy tradeshow, doesn’t a salesman always invite his prospect to conduct business in a quiet room? The answer to both questions is, of course, yes. We can’t function in noise; that’s why Bose sells noise-cancelling headphones.
You Are Talking to Yourself
If noise is so disturbing, why would the Internet make it palatable? Makes no sense. In fact, “social” noise disturbs and, ironically, isolates us. According to Stephen Marche, Facebook is making us lonely. So, isn’t this anti-social behavior?
On May 15, 2012, GM announced that it no longer would advertise on Facebook because the poor ROI didn’t justify the expense. I’m surprised this move didn’t happen sooner. GM realized that, without a remote MC, it can’t get anyone’s attention on Facebook. Obviously not a good branding venue.
Whether speaking, selling, delivering news, or entertaining, you need the audience. But, if you can’t hold and control the audience — the message to and response from the audience — you are talking to yourself. Lesson: More noise, less control.
Rx from the WhiteNoise Doctor™
If you’re employing a “social” medium, ask yourself: Is it an influence channel that I control? Does it sharpen my brand? Does it drive customers to my Website and cash register? If not, dump it. Don’t do anything just to copy a fad.
You can’t control your brand without controlling your message, which requires you to control your audience. You can’t control an audience distracted in a noisy room. A speaker wouldn’t tolerate chaos; a marketer shouldn’t, either. This is what GM decided.
Once concluding that your social media are distractions, drop them. Focus on the influence channel you can control: your Website. Make it worth visiting.
POSTSCRIPT #1: Facebook Shares Plummet on Day Two
POSTSCRIPT #2: Microsoft Launches New Social Network — So.cl
POSTSCRIPT #3: Facebook Exec: Business Is Weak
POSTSCRIPT #4: Facebook Shows There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute
POSTSCRIPT #5: Facebook Is Officially the Worst-Performing IPO of the Decade
POSTSCRIPT #6: Facebook Will Disappear in Five to Eight Years
POSTSCRIPT #7: Marketers Love Facebook With No Proof Their Ads Work
POSTSCRIPT #8: Social-Media Stock Frenzy Fizzles
POSTSCRIPT #9: Facebook Estimates Having 83M Fake Accounts
About the Author
Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.
© 2012 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.