I've somewhat embraced the Google zoo because the inability to 'game' the engine has called for more marketing. Sorry, (you know who you are). So, this thing marketing, I'm no expert; but, I know a little about a little.
If I was to understand marketing, since I'm online, I may as well check out 'Marketing 101' as supplied by the US Small Business Administration. Surely, the .gov site can give us some direction as how to market.
Oh wow, look, one of the very first sentiments offered broaches the subject of people:
All company policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs. (Their choice of bold, not mine; but, I concur.)
Read that over a few times until it begins to sink in. Take all the time you need. Notice how the ending doesn’t read "your" needs. If you're not starting from that integral point of view, you're doomed to fail, and to be socially awkward in between. Let's consider how you may look to customers.
Hey, who misses phone solicitations? (No hands go up.) Why did we hate? Because the 'cold calling' process is socially awkward. It immediately establishes a defensive, annoyed demeanor. Someone calls your phone and starts trying to sell you on something; yet, to start, they really don't know you as an individual; they just see you as dollar signs. People like being valued as people and not dollars.
How can you generate the boldness to attempt to satisfy the needs of someone you don't know?
The Bait and Switcher
Sometimes companies do take interest in us. Hooray for common sense! They'll gain the intelligence of our interests and offer germane goods and services, many times at an initial discount. That's awesome. We all like saving money! Oh wait. The interest, the sale, the 'special' offer was a means to an end?
So basically, it's kind of like someone taking interest in me for ultimately selfish reasons. It's REALLY about what I can do FOR THEM. That's really socially awkward. People don't like the feeling of being used.
The Miyagi Marketer
I think we all can understand the pursuit of money is inextricably caught up in business; however, running a business does not mean I owe you a thing as a consumer. On the contrary, if you want my business, you owe me, in an ongoing fashion. Otherwise, why would I stick around? It would be like staying with an unappreciative mate otherwise; there are greener pastures for everyone.
Some businesses lay on the romance thick in the 'honeymoon' phase then once consumers are 'entranced' the act is dropped. The wax on/off dynamic is socially awkward. It makes me question your brand's integrity. It makes me question why you're in business. Is it to make money or something useful? If that question makes you feel awkward, take a number. You're doing it to many others.
Let me identify some business interactions I find to be socially awkward. If you're employing these think of reconsidering. There must be a reason I'm writing these down.
- Stop the automatic DMs once consumers follows you on Twitter
- Don't email people you don't have pre-established relations with
- Don't follow or befriend then drop people to manipulate perception
- Don't treat consumers as dollar signs; they're likely to treat your brand similarly
- Don't worry about the competition, focus on your clients (all the time)