You are a general. You've been trained for decades to fight against your enemies. You launched campaigns for maximum impact. You targeted segments to gain captive audiences. You reflected upon strikeweights and guerilla tactics to do battle, gain market dominance and kill the competition. People are not people, they are reduced to being consumers.

One day, your superior comes to you and says: "We've got to continue this battle but we also need to build relationships and foster engagement with "these people".

As a tired warrior, you get excited about building Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, you develop strategies, editorial calendars, policies, guidelines and deploy staff. After a few months you realize: This social thing is a miserable disaster.

Why?

Look at your language. What words are you using?

Are you allowing people to upload their photos to your Facebook page?

Are you letting people comment on your feed?

Are you permitting people to share their views with you?


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Basically, are you grudgingly conceding that people are now an important part of the marketing world but you do it with a scowl, barely tolerating the unwashed masses?

You don't think people can sense this attitude? Think again.

Invite. Encourage. Entrust. Enable. Recognize. Empower.

To be successful on social platforms, you need to be in the right frame of mind. You can't just take off your General hat and put on the hoodie. Words you use on social platforms are the expression of this state of mind. If you think about people as pure consumers, as annoying troublemakers, as little children that need your approval and supervision – be prepared to remain a miserable disaster.

People are not receptacles waiting eagerly for our advertising messages – actually they're often happier living without them. The vocabulary you use undoubtedly affects the way we approach things – both consciously and subconsciously. So, if you want to connect with people, engage them, marketing with them – change your language.

Invite people to get involved.

Encourage them share.

Entrust them with the co-creation of a brand platform.

Recognize their contributions.

Empower them to improve your brand.

Feels different, right?

Uwe Hook is the CEO and Co-Founder of BatesHook, Inc. (www.bateshook.com) and a veteran of the advertising and marketing industry with the goal of building connections between people and brands. Uwe can be reached at uwe@bateshook.com.

Read all Uwe's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Subversions.

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