As I started writing this I quickly YouTubed Aretha belting the tune out and changed the title in a tip of the hat to her. Her song has a powerful message, certainly for the time when it was written, and the message can still be used in today’s context and I want to apply it to the world of social media marketing.

In a world where consumers can now opt-in to receive marketing messages, they can just as quickly opt-out.

Just think about that while I move on a bit.

These days we often churn through our emails with clenched jaws and look to see what can we quickly delete without reading. Yes? We only want to spend our time opening what we have to, then if we’ve read the plethora of books on how to deal with email we will Do, Delegate or Delete. I mean there are so many books, tips and tricks on dealing with email overload out there so that says something. We get too many emails.

Contrast this with social media and let’s use Facebook as the platform in this example. For me to receive a company or brand’s updates I have to opt-in by Liking their Facebook Page. By doing so I’ve essentially invited them to nestle amongst my family and friends and to enter my living room, bedroom or wherever else I’m choosing to spend time on Facebook. And just think of the different headspace I’m in compared to my clenched jaw email environment. I’m lying on the couch looking at my mother’s holiday pics, seeing my friend’s witty one liners, and now here comes the company update. Pause.

Now has the person behind this update thought about us as people when they created it? Have they understood the environment we’re likely to receive this message in? Do they respect us? Sadly, often the answer is no. It’s the marketing guy who is sending the same old messages just through a different medium. It’s like Harvey Norman is yelling at us now through Facebook as well as tv.

For organisations to use social media well, you need to understand and respect your consumers and the environment they’re in when they receive your messages. Remember, they can opt-out just as quickly as they’ve opted-in.

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