Tuesday, January 27, 2009

OnlineSpin: How To Not Be Creepy

Last week Joe wrote "Digital Tools For Change."

Sara Devine wrote in response, "I'm a DC native and I've had some opportunities to talk to various organizations/firms in the area about the lack of use of digital to organize support for their causes.

I think it is a true miss on many of their parts.

I hope that many of the great groups out there who work for our better good learn from the Obama campaign and learn to take advantage of the opportunities that digital offer BEYOND their annoying and repetitive emails."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
How To Not Be Creepy
By Joe Marchese

It's a slippery slope from being an effective marketer in social media to being creepy. Showing someone exactly the right product they might want to check out can be beneficial and therefore effective -- but using certain personal information to target the ad can very easily come off as creepy. Asking and empowering people for endorsing your brand to their social graph can be incredibly effective; but attaching your marketing message to my likeness without EXPLICT permission can be creepy (see: Beacon). Rewarding people who share your brand with their social graph can be effective, but pure pay-per-post is certainly creepy.

I was on a panel at OMMA Social titled "Personal CPM" that discussed the true value of an individual to a marketer. The concept of "personal CPM" is basically that people are now publishers and that each person has a value to advertisers that could be looked at in terms of CPM. Charlene Li ( http://blog.altimetergroup.com/) , moderator of the panel, has really been championing the idea of a personal CPM. I for one am in total agreement that marketers must consider the value of people as a source of media in the age of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, but as David Berkowitz ( http://www.marketersstudio.com ) pointed out, it begins to sound a little "creepy" when we talk about monetizing people and targeting based on personal information. So how can marketers be effective -- without being creepy -- in a world where people control media distribution ?

I think it's actually pretty simple not to be creepy. It's a lot like not being creepy in real life. Don't do anything online your wouldn't do in the real world. You wouldn't slap your brand on someone's back without asking that person's permission. You'd be creepy if you inserted yourself into a conversation, just because you overheard it, without being invited in. Just picture it for a minute. It really boils down to respect for people, their influence and their privacy.

It sounds simple, but not all programs treat social media marketing as the interpersonal interaction that it is. If marketers don't respect people's privacy and influence, the social media ecosystem will adjust to block out the unwelcome, creepy guests, which will set back social media marketing a number of years. Facebook can't have this, MySpace can't have this, Twitter can't have this and marketers don't want this. STOP BEING CREEPY. (Thanks, David.)

Joe Marchese is President of socialvibe.

Online Spin for Tuesday, January 27, 2009:

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