For instance, I’ve seen a number of “fun, interactive” quizzes in advanced tv campaigns and on Facebook. Really? You think someone wants to take the time to do a quiz about BMW automobile parts or a word scramble about Vaseline on tv in their free time?Because seriously, who thought that was a good idea. I've seen maybe one in 1,000 of those little quizzes running down the side of a Web site that looked REMOTELY interesting. And the best is when a company, like Vaseline, makes one.
I was talking to my dad about social media marketing today at lunch. He admitted that he knows basically nothing about it and asked what companies are using it for. I admitted that I only know what I've read about and experienced first hand from the receiving end, but that social media, generally, is about creating more intimate relationships with communities of consumers that are based on authenticity. That means the company uses social media in a way that makes sense for them. Vaseline has nothing to do with word scrambles.
And honestly, there are some social media tools that make sense for some businesses. If you're communicating the same thing on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, you need to rethink your strategy and choose the tools and strategies that make sense.
The next social-media-marketing rut that I want companies to break out of is getting people to vote for things, like which charity to donate too or which color to include in the next line-up of products. While that's a great way to get a better understanding of a company's consumers, I also am not getting paid to direct that company's corporate responsibility program or R&D department. As BrennaHanly so accurately said:
If you develop a participatory program, make sure it has real value and provide the right incentives. Give us money, give us free stuff...Gen Y might be more tuned in to what's going on in the world around it, but that doesn't mean it wants to spend time doing busy work for a business when it could be updating its Fantasy Football roster.