The Me-Me-Me opera is OVER

Why social media is powerful

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Our fierce curiosity and primal need to bond is written in deep in our code. Together, language and interaction drive us farther and faster than we can know. On the shoulders of our evolution, we rocket forward and embrace the mystery.

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Cue fingernails on the chalkboard

From the first radio ad broadcast in 1922 until 1992, commerce hijacked our trajectory

Companies steeped our culture with mass-attacks of me-me-me messaging. Before we knew it, this was considered a “proven” method of marketing and selling: The Grind.

While lucrative, it was a flawed method, but there was nothing to comparatively disprove it, because the playing field wasn’t level. Until…

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A social tool dawned in 1992 that would burn it all down

The first SMS text message was sent. Eleven years later, a social portal arrived: MySpace. Facebook launched in 2004. Interestingly, at the same time, Anthony Greco was arrested under the Can-Spam act. It was his spam messaging that interfered with our hard-won communications pathway.

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It was a tiny crack in one-way messaging: the last act had begun

Social media was on its way, and for the first time, average people had the same communications power as corporations.  Natural communities sprung up, nurtured by individuals, and we were back on our evolutionary track, bonding and sharing, but instead of caves or watering holes, we could touch anyone in the world, if they could be connected to the internet.

Many business didn’t see value in fostering communities or transparent interactions. Was it comfort? Habit? Ego? New tools, old trick. Grind, grind, gr—*ignore* — what?

And, my, how we shared in our communities. Why trust a business, when we could read reviews from friends and real customers online.

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We need to communicate, need to trust, and need the comfort of one another

This fosters inspiration for novelty, innovation and emotional sense of connection to the world.

Texting, emailing and joining online communities skyrocketed, so that by 2012, 45% of US adults had smartphones, and 87% had cell phones. Devices, connectivity and assists from social applications put tools to evolve at our fingertips, and gave us our voice. In one swift keystroke, the game changed entirely and forever.

Consumers usurped the ‘message’ and often led discussions and the decision-making process, including those about companies and their products.

 

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Obsolete, kaput, finito

The tables have turned and at last, the death of the Me-Me-Me Opera has arrived: it’s over. So what does this mean for all companies?

It’s not about out-spending, out-yelling, or out-grinding. It’s about out-sharing. Time and energy must be invested to earn the hearts and minds of customers – on their terms. And it must come from a place of sincerity – it takes work and care to pay attention, engage, ask, respond, and help. An evolution, albeit a reactionary one, in business must occur, or natural selection will winnow out the unadapted.

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The transition of message has profoundly affected us all

Never have so many choices from so many businesses been available. In fact, social tools have leveled the playing field completely. Industry mammoths are toppling overnight and gifting those more agile, more nurturing and smaller startups with rich opportunities. Less money is needed to market businesses, which encourages entrepreneurs to spread their wings and be their best human selves, which leads to even more exposure and therefore, choice.

The future has never been so exciting, and I can’t wait to step over the edge and embrace the mystery.

 

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About The Author

Jeanie Walker
Longtime brand and marketing professional with a special fondness for delivering the best customer experience design and a zest for helping local companies build strong communities.