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Manners Matter: Social Media is Surprisingly Like Real Life

Manners Matter: Social Media is Surprisingly Like Real Life

Imagine the following:

You’re walking along, having a conversation with one of your best friends about horses. She has things to say about horses, you have things to say about horses – it’s a good conversation and you’re enjoying it. Suddenly, someone you’ve never, ever met in your life abruptly thrusts themselves into your discussion saying, “Hey, since you’re interested in horses, you’ll want to buy this horse I have for sale right now!”

What is your response likely to be? I’d hazard a guess that for at least 99 out of 100 people, the response is NOT going to be, “Oh my goodness! What a wonderful opportunity! Here, take my money and give me that horse!” That’s not how horse buying generally works. (SPOILER: It’s not how effective social media marketing works either!)

The mere fact that you’re discussing horses isn’t a reliable indicator you want to own one: your conversation may have centered around horses as a motif in art, or horses on the race track, or even the fact that horses are a dinner entrée in some parts of the world – but none of that matters to your new conversationalist. They just want you to buy a horse from them now.

Think about how uncomfortable and annoyed you would be in this situation. Now let’s shift the setting of the conversation from a real-life stroll to a Twitter exchange. Would you feel any less violated or irritated to be interrupted by someone insisting there’s never been a better time to buy a horse?

It turns out that social media is surprisingly like real life.

People don’t like being interrupted or having their private conversations intruded upon. This is something we need to be mindful of as we conduct our digital marketing campaigns. Manners matter, no matter what communication channel you’re accessing. There’s a place for commercial speech in social media. If your messaging intrudes beyond those areas, you’re running a real risk of annoying and potentially forever alienating a prospective customer.

It’s important for you to understand the limits of the technology you’re using. A keyword search certainly enables you to identify all of the people who are discussing a certain topic on a given platform at any particular time. However, without a more advanced understanding of the conversations that are going on, it’s impossible to identify with any meaningful degree of accuracy the points where your marketing message would be warmly received. Our eager horse salesman is going to definitely be wasting his time if the marketing message to buy a horse is being directed at people discussing how much they hate all things equine. The fact you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

Used strategically, social media has an incredible power to identify people who would be very receptive to our marketing message. But the process is not and cannot be fully automated. Data doesn’t equal insight, and an on-topic conversation doesn’t necessarily equal a sales opportunity. The brands that understand this, and keep a basic human understanding at the center of their digital messaging strategy, are the brands that do best in today’s competitive environment. Don’t leave the social out of your social media!

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office