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10/20/2010 Don't Be A Social Media Kvetch

When I was younger our family knew an older couple that couldn’t have been more different. The wife was a classic; at the slightest opportunity, she’d corner you and either 

  • Complain about her aches and pains
  • Tell you stories about her kids, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, none of whom you knew in the slightest; or
  • Talk about how successful someone else your age was.

We used to avoid her like the plague. She was a nice older woman, but once she got going, watch out. But since our families were social with one another, you knew at some time or another, you’d get caught in her net. We called her the Kvetch.

Her husband was the exact opposite. He was a short slightly overweight man who loved a good time. He was always

  • Telling jokes
  • Sharing funny stories about someone in the community, usually embarrassing ones; or
  • Asking you to tell him a joke or a funny story.

I don’t know how I started thinking about this couple but they popped up when I was discussing social media strategies. I realized that the advice was simple:

Don’t be a social media kvetch.

Even if people connect with you socially, that doesn’t put them in your power to tell them anything you like, especially if what you say is self-centered and disconnected to the person you converse with. Lots of brands act this way, with an endless stream of chest-pounding and internally focused communications.

Even if we were your friend, fan or follower, most of us would rather hear a funny story, a surprising tale (even of another customer or employee) or some other type of enjoyable entertainment. When brands do social marketing this way, people want to hang out with them. That’s why the Will It Blend was so popular. It’s why the Old Spice Guy was such a huge hit.

Now that doesn’t sound so hard, does it?


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