Overheard: “Campaign to Leverage Social Media Users”

I’m with quite a few late adopters of Social Media, in fact, I’m at Forrester’s Finance Forum here in NYC, one of the banking centers of the world. I can often tell the level of sophistication of industries to social media by the type of language they use, in fact, I’ve used these phrases when I didn’t know any better.

Phrases like:

“Campaigns” which convey short wartime activities of bomb dropping and tank rolling to advance territory.

Rookies who want to benefit from word of mouth, or are approaching it the same way as interactive marketing or advertising may say “Leveraging Social Media”, as if doing a little to gain a lot from this medium.

Or describing people as “users” rather than community “members”

Describing this movement as “UGC” vs “people sharing”

So what’s in a name, phrase, or description? A lot, actually. It’s a clear indicator to me on the approach that a brand is going to take, and I can often predict the results will end up looking like an interactive campaign on a social network, rather than a community discussion where the brand is involved. There’s no reason to get emotional or religious about it, it’s just that this type of thinking is likely to result in getting a brand punk’d, or worse yet, no one coming resulting in complacency. I’m no ‘phrase police’ but when I hear it quietly am able to segment where folks are at, that’s all, now you try, what causes you to wince?

For what it’s worth, if you go back to my archives you’ll see I’ve used these same phrases a few years ago –guilty!