Saturday, January 29, 2011

Succumbing to Social White Noise

The writings on the wall but you rarely see it. Such is the scenario these days, what I called social white noise. Somewhere along the line Facebook turned from something fun into a marketing tool. No big mystery that. A tool that epitomises what is known as Permission Marketing (Seth Godin) where you wilfully receive a company’s marketing spiel.

Seems nice, seems something like we all know. Customer engagement and all that jazz. But after a while you realise that you have got more than one such brand on your friend list. Your wall has been half taken over by marketing messages that cover product launches, to news you could use. With so much information pouring in, you tend to skip most as you scroll and scour through the wall.

The question for a person who sits in the shoes of the marketer (like me), is where does the tipping point lie? Too few posts on the social wall and you are likely to be lost in the swamp of social marketing. Too much and you are overlooked anyway. A quick look at some fashion brand’s Facebook pages has revealed a frequency of around two to three posts a day. Third time’s the chance like they say.

It should be noted that the quality of user interaction these posts generates are usually minimal. This is not a place for debates. Forums are for the serious stuff, facebook for the frivolous. However the existing level of interaction assures marketers that some of the millions of fans at least sit up and take notice. For the rest a majority of the communication is just social white noise, like the general background noise found at concerts, nightclubs, restaurants and other events where groups of people gather. In other words even social media marketing is fast filling with clutter like the rest of the media. The difference lies in the user’s ability to tune out altogether.