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I’ve been blissfully married for quite a while now but I still remember this specific date from hell: She was gorgeous. She had the same interests than me. And through a mind-numbing dinner, she only talked about herself. Her concerns. Her dreams. Her life. Never asked a question. Never engaged. Never showed any interest in me.

Does that remind you of your brand’s social media presence?

Broadcasting messages about yourself is fine for specific channels. It’s not acceptable for social platforms. It continues to astonish me how many companies still apply the broadcast model to a non-broadcast medium. Blasting messages through their bullhorn at a cocktail party. Where is the Social Media Security Force when we need them?

If a friend asks you if he should buy a BMW or Mercedes-Benz, would you send him a glossy brochure? Would you annoy him with special offers, sweepstakes and spam emails?

Of course not.

Somehow, when people put their marketing hat on, they lose some of their humanity. That marketing hat must have secret powers because suddenly it’s okay to target people, spam them, annoy the living daylights out of them. Once the hat is off and the office door is closed, the same people go home, regain their humanity and are as annoyed about these marketing tactics as all the other humans not wearing a marketing hat.

The simple truth is, Social Media is not a new channel. Social Media changed the rules of the marketing game: New players, new strategies, new tactics, new values. Too many brands are trotting out the Vince Lobardi’s Green Bay Packers and their playbook from 1961 and try to compete with today’s New Orleans Saints. Just to be guaranteed a total beatdown.

The purpose of a business and its marketing remains unchanged: create a customer. The way to achieve this goal has dramatically changed and is evolving as we speak. Brands need to understand these new rules, the new players and the new playbook.

Frankly, it’s not that hard. Just leave your marketing hat off and be human. Help people. Add value. Give. Build brand karma.

My date from hell cost me $100 and, more importantly, 2 hours of my life. Being a date from hell on social platforms will cost you customers for life.