I don’t know how I slipped into it, why I started thinking this way, but I lost one of the key principles of social media, speaking in a human voice. Somehow I started thinking and telling clients that the human voice thing can be left for the blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc, the rest of your website and marketing material can be marketing crap. (Ok, I didn’t use the word crap) As part of the Destination Marketing book club I'm leading everyone in the office through the “Cluetrain Manifesto” and while reading it for the first time in years, I realized I went off track somewhere. It especially hit me in reading chapter three “Talk is Cheap” by Rick Levine. The below excerpt is what made it painfully clear.
Hart Scientific, Inc. (www.hartscientific.com) posted a convenient comparison of conversational versus traditional writing on their Web site. They have two versions of their Y2K compliance page. You can tell them apart:
Noncompliance issues could arise if Hart Scientific manufactured products are combined with other manufacturer’s products. Hart cannot test all possible system configurations in which Hart manufactured products could be incorporated. Our products currently test as being compliant and will continue to operate correctly after January 1, 2000. However, customers must test integrated systems to see if components work with Hart Scientific manufactured products. Hart makes no representation or warranty concerning non-Hart manufactured products.
If you’re using our equipment with someone else’s gear, who the hell knows what’s going to happen. We sure don’t, so how can we promise you something specific, or even vague for that matter? We can’t, so we won’t. However, we love our customers and like always we’ll do whatever is reasonable to solve whatever problems come up, if there are any.
Which one would you rather read? Which one connects you to the brand, and gives you a sense of working with people, instead of a corporation?
I used to preach this and then lost it, and I think social media is to blame partly. It’s easy to put social media in a silo. For some reason in all the talk about Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, etc. I forgot that the principles that work with those social tools, work with all forms of media.
Heck I even warned against thinking social media are tools in a blog post “Social Media, Philosophy, Tools, or Both?” Maybe I should take my own advice!
Well people get off track. I was there, but now I’m back. It’s not going to be an easy battle, but that has never stopped me before.
I encourage you to join me (if you aren’t there already) and to not relegate human voices to a blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Lets push companies and ourselves in talking with a natural voice in all mediums of communication.
Who wants to read, listen, or even do business with a bunch of marketing crap anyway?