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Social Media Marketing and Over-Saturation: When is Enough Enough?

Recently I went to China to play beach volleyball. While I was there I noticed the Chinese approach to marketing clothes, products, and services was very aggressive — products and services were constantly ‘in your face’. 

The supermarkets in particular were particularly fascinating – aisles upon aisles of products and signage,consumers hit with marketing messages when they least expected it. So much so I felt overwhelmed by all of the advertising, and anytime I ventured into a commercial area I felt a real urgency to get out of there asap. Lately this is how I have also felt in a number of social media networks I have joined. The overload of advertising messages and spam is encouraging me to disengage more often. Rather than having to deal with spam, I am culling a large number of followers or disconnecting from people who have ‘signed me up’ to marketing material without my consent.

In David Meerman Scott’s book ‘The New Rules of PR & Marketing’ he talks about traditional marketing methods versus the internet or social media marketing methods. Traditional marketing interrupts a consumer to get the message through, whereas social media marketing or internet marketing primarily relies on the consumer connecting first with that product so then they can be marketed to.

It is important to remember social media networks are channels that most consumers initially became part of because they wanted to share information about themselves or connect with their friends easier, not because they agreed to be advertised to. (Well maybe not consciously anyway with the exception of channels specifically set up to deliver offers or discounts on products ie. Scoopon, Ebay.) Personal pages or business profiles filled with constant advertising messages risk alienation of their target market, especially if they aren’t balanced with more socially oriented content. If you are going to sell to your followers, fans, or friends it is better to let them know in the beginning so they don’t disconnect from you/your business when they realize they have been tricked into a marketing funnel.

The repetition of sales type copy, one-sided messages or social media users added to pages or newsletters that they didn’t consent to is spamming, and abuse of a social media network, and can see your company banned from that particular network.

Although everyone can probably be found guilty of self-promotion at times, if you continuously over-saturate your market you risk cheapening the perceived value of your product. Or increase the possibility people will get so sick of hearing about your product  they will go out of their way to NOT purchase it.

Building a brand effectively involves repeating your message regularly, in the best advertising channels that will reach your target market to ensure the message gets through to the consumers. On social media networks it is vital for any company or business to genuinely engage with their followers, otherwise you haven’t grasped the concept of ‘social media’. Building genuine sales leads is often dependent on establishing genuine relationships with people so that when you do want to sell to them, they already trust you (and therefore more likely to listen to your sales copy!)

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