A very successful business person has recently launched a marketing campaign following the launch of a new business opportunity. In the past two weeks there have been one or two emails every day with sales copy varying between “This is a brilliant prospect, buy now” to stories from people who have already purchased explaining what drove them to part with their up to £2.5K investment. In addition to the emails there have been banner adverts and even an automated telephone call – all routes leading to a video message from the business person containing a very compelling sales pitch.

The reaction to this campaign has been very interesting to observe. I have seen responses from many who are angry at the hard sell tactics, annoyed that every web page they visit contains a banner ad for the product and more disturbingly I heard of an elderly person who was upset that upon answering the telephone, they heard a man stating “this was a very important opportunity you can’t miss out on” yet wouldn’t repeat the details when asked to clarify they had been heard correctly. But hundreds of people have invested in the product – something like 75% of the availability has been sold already!

It got me thinking – are we more accepting of ‘noise’ transmitted via email than by social media?

Noise on social media is defined as constantly broadcasting your sales message with little or no engagement with other users. Some of the people who were aggrieved by the emails reported that requests to unsubscribe went ignored and the onslaught continued. On social media, that behaviour would lose them fans and followers. Worse, it could see them reported as spam with the possibility of their account being suspended. Many more people will unfollow or unlike you on social media than will unsubscribe from unwanted emails – not least because of the fear that unsubscribing merely confirms your email address is live and thus becomes an open invitation for even more unwanted emails.

The campaign will be judged on its success by the revenue it has generated. I don’t know the exact figure but I’ll take a guess at £500,000 – a remarkable result for two week’s promotion and something I can only dream of! I imagine that offending a few people will be seen as a small price to pay for generating such high revenue in a short time period too. Personally I have rather enjoyed receiving the emails – I always look for learning opportunities and I’ve been paying close attention to the sales copy because I think it’s been very clever; both in the way that it changes to appeal to different prospects and also the scheduling of ‘emotional benefits stories’ to arrive at the weekend when the recipient has more time to digest the message. In fact, I would really love to learn the psychology of the campaign and understand how it was planned from the ground up – if you’re listening Mr Marketer I mean that genuinely – I’m fascinated!

I went off on a tangent there but what I’m trying to say is that social media is only one part of an overall marketing plan. You also have to consider how your audience will receive your message in each format you choose to communicate with them. Whilst this onslaught of sales messages has generated amazing results from their email campaign, taking the same approach to a social media campaign would prove disastrous to their business credibility and reputation. Social media is a two way conversation. It’s social by definition and successful social media marketing requires users to listen much more than they broadcast. Seek those who are looking for the solutions that your product or service offers and engage them in conversation to demonstrate your expertise.

To get the best results from a multi-pronged marketing campaign, decide who you will be targeting, undertake research into where you will find your targets and most importantly, understand the appropriate method of communicating with them for the platform you choose.