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Not So Social Social Media

by David Brock on April 22nd, 2020

Over the past 5 or so years, it seems a large number of people think social media and social platforms are the future of sales and marketing. We’ve seen platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter skyrocket in terms of utilization.

We (or at least I) get deluged with connection requests, followed by the inevitable prospecting messages. Our news feeds are filled with self promotional “insights,” and articles, as the authors fight for likes and comments. When they can’t get enough, they put people’s names into the comments, so their material pops up in the feeds of the people they’ve hijacked.

If ever, social media were to live up to the “promise” of becoming the future of sales and marketing, one would think it would be now. With many of us forced to work from homes, in isolation; with our customers facing the same, one would think we have the perfect storm where the value of social media and platforms would break through.

Instead, I am seeing something profoundly different. People feel isolated, they want to connect, they want to be engaged, but rather than turning to the social platforms, they are turning to the phone. Alternatively, they are turning to conferencing platforms like Zoom, Teams, Webex.

They are hungry to connect, to be engaged and to engage others. The mechanisms they are preferring are those that are personal, one to one, one to a small number. They are interactive, conversational, real time, synchronous rather than asynchronous. They are deeply personal, providing deeper interaction and engagement.

It seems the “social platforms,” aren’t so social. They don’t fulfill our need for social engagement when we feel socially isolated.

This shouldn’t be surprising. For years, these “social” platforms have increasingly become broadcast platforms. They are not platforms for establishing relationships, but platforms to expand the volume and velocity of one’s outreach. In fact, they make it somewhat difficult to establish deep levels of interaction—most people I know move those conversations to more traditional mechanisms like the phone, email, or even that old stand by, F2F (in “socially safe/distant” ways).

We have long known that buying and selling is deeply personal. It’s deeply situational and contextual. There are fears, concerns, interpersonal dynamics that are critical to both buyers and sellers. Relationships count. Trust is critical. Caring and compassion is important. Listening and knowing someone is listening, critically, is important both in connecting but in moving forward.

We’ve always known this, but too many “social media” advocates miss this. Ironically, it’s take a health pandemic to get us to rediscover this.

We want to connect and be connected, not have connections. We want to engage and be engaged, not be the subject of broadcast media.

It turns out the most “social” tools are not the social media platforms.

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  1. Alistair McQuade permalink

    Well said David, excellent article.

  2. Absolutely, 100% totally spot on.

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