Misery“Oh, hey, I’m so glad to see you, I really wanted to talk about our relationship!  And I also think you’d make great friends with this other girl I know…”

“Um, like, I know I go to your Starbucks a lot and see you behind the checkout counter a few times a week, but… what freaking relationship are you talking about?”

If that dialogue sounds silly, it’s the kind of thing that happens every day through Social Media and online tools like Twitter, FaceBook, Blogs, e-mail, etc.  Companies somehow assume that because you’ve visited their site or bought something from them, that it is now appropriate to act as your buddy – or worse, that they can try to leverage your friends/networks for their own, selfish purposes.

Offline, this behavior would be creepy and borderline stalker-ish.  Bringing it online doesn’t make it anymore well received, according to a new e-Marketer Digital Intelligence study:

“US consumers are most interested in brands that keep them up to date and improve their knowledge. And they do not want brands to act like their friends.”

So what DO consumers want from companies using Social Media & Online tools?  Here are the highlights from the study :

“Helping consumers keep up to date on topics that were important to them was also key, followed by being entertaining, becoming part of a daily routine, and informing consumers about the product and the company. Consumers were relatively uninterested in brands that tried to act like their friends.”

Sounds about right to me.

* Hat tip to Zen Pundit and Critt Jarvis over at Strategis


  1. Tom Wanek on 11.04.2009

    Funny, I didn’t see your blog post until after our social media discussion.

    Couldn’t agree more. I don’t want a brand to be my friend. I want news and updates on products and services that interest me.