5 Reasons to Reform Social Network Marketing

1. Our social networks are being targeted, tapped, and stolen.

Corporations are very intentional about entering social networks with word of mouth and social media marketing tactics designed to gather customers through personal relationships. This is already happening.  “Buy one, refer 3 friends and get it free” is a common offer that places our social networks at risk.  When friends begin to target each other for personal gain, relationships change.

What once was a just a party, night out with the girls, parents association meeting, kids ball game or neighborhood bar-b-que becomes an “opportunity”.  Friends know when they are victims of a sales program. Sales training about how to be more effective and persuasive just make things more uncomfortable.

But it’s already here.  Since it can come through any individual without permission or warning, it can’t be ignored.  The force is too strong and variable be eliminated with rules or regulations.  It needs to be reformed to serve the common good.

2.When we recognize the value of our social networks, we can secure the funds we need for doing good.

Corporations that are investing millions of dollars in social media network marketing among friends are willing to invest that money in nonprofit organizations that produce the same results for the company- more customers. The same corporations that invest in FB, twittering among friends, followers of a youtube star or word of mouth referrals will gladly support a cause we share as customers.

When we are conscious as a social network, we can shift the flow of finances used for marketing into a common purpose to do good. When those who support a common cause agree to cooperate for community benefit, everyone can win.  Transparency and integrity can take away the weirdness and suspicion about hidden agendas or being used.

Agreement up front about a good product with a good company that supports a good cause through our cooperative effort removes the pressure that can be divisive in a social network or cause people to fall away. Only invest your social network for a good cause if you are investing in your network at the same time.

3. Relationship marketing is about RELATIONSHIPS.  If done properly, relationships can be strengthened.

When used blindly, any kind of marketing can destroy relationships.  Even with good intentions. When marketing becomes a campaign, friends become customers and quotas are to be met, we begin to fear opening the next email or answering the next phone call from certain friends. The spam filter doesn’t work and a “gotcha” contact chips away at goodwill, respect and trust.

With awareness and commitment to relationship ethics of respect, freedom, honesty and justice, bonds can be created around the common good. When resources are shared with equity and transparency, everyone benefits and the joy of economic well being generates hope.  Mutuality in fair exchange between friends teach us that an alternative may exist to the win/lose marketing game we’re accustomed to playing.

As we consider what is best for the environment and the disenfranchised and those with special needs among us, the value of social marketing allows us to direct commercial profits toward doing the greatest good. Cooperative effort that creates financial support for creating and sustaining common space and a common purpose creates a true partnership. Everyone contributes and the volume of markets created brings shared power for consumers to support work that provides the most social benefit.

4. Integration of money with relationships develops character by testing motives and revealing values.

Free choices about how money will be spent for essential products and services create a voice from consumers about what companies will receive loyalty over time.  We can promote healthy sustainable products and services that are safe and contribute to a better quality of life.  Sharing a concern that everyone’s children do well, not just our own creates a caring community and encourages corporations to give attention to multiple benefits and consequences beyond the financial bottom line.

Cooperative intentional buying  and selling requires an openness and communication that builds authentic community.  Self determination and self sustaining organizations open the door to deeper belonging and positive identity. Shared pride that comes from working together helps reinvent the world as a more peaceful and satisfying place to live.  Accountability becomes a personal choice more than attempts at forcing compliance.

5. The next generation needs and deserves a better economic structure.

A more equitable economy allows everyone to participate according to the same rules of distribution. That doesn’t mean that everyone will experience the same benefits, but everyone will have opportunity.  Hard work and contribution to the common good will be rewarded. Our acceptance of privilege makes it difficult to visualize a system where more people are able to secure their own welfare, but when serve more than our own interests, we find an abundance that is not easily recognized in a culture where scarcity is assumed.

Short term interest in quarterly reports and weekly balance sheets give way to future studies that include our great great grandchildren.  We can spend our income in ways that influence a course of events and create systems to combat unintended negative consequences of current decisions.  We can learn to sacrifice today that which makes a way for the best to emerge through us all for generations to come.

The profit motive alone will never accomplish these five objectives. With courage and collaboration we can bring reform to a faulty economic system revolving around greed and self interest. Through agreement to experiment with new forms of exchange, we can discover a better stewardship of all that is given for us to share.

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Do You Show Up as a Consumer or a Citizen?

We’re all consumes.  We buy and sell our stuff, our vision, our ideas and ourselves.We’re all citizens.  We belong with responsibility.  So “Citizen or Consumer?” is not a question of what we do and don’t do.  It’s a question of our primary identity, how we show up to others in our world.

And it makes a difference.  When people who are first consumers show up in our world, the world becomes defensive.  We act on assumptions of scarcity, power and dependency.  We’re more likely to take care of somebody, or expect them to take care of us. The consumer world generates fear, suspicion and shame.

What if we don’t have the intellectual, financial, social, beauty or charismatic currency needed to buy what we believe we can’t live without?  What if someone else has more and outbids us? What if no one wants to buy what I’m selling and thinks my version of fun, care or art sucks? When I run out of what makes me attractive enough to get at least some of what I need, will I end up being alone?  These are important questions among consumers. Predictability, proof and acquisition govern most choices.

For citizens, we worry about things like how everyone can share in the common good. What’s worthwhile depends on what the outcome might look 100 years from now. Traveling together to destinations that count and getting there with our integrity intact is more important than finding the most expedient path. Creativity that brings joy and meaning to a community or helps it flourish socially, economically and spiritually trumps the idea that brings in the greatest profit in the least amount of time at the lowest cost..These are the concerns of people who show up as citizens first.

Others watching how we show up at a meeting, a party, for work, or on holidays will have a better picture of how we show up than we do about ourselves. The image we try to make in the mirror is never the same as the real thing that others experience.  Authenticity may not feel safe because there’s no assurance that who I am will be noticed, accepted or useful.

When we show up as authentic citizens who care about the neighborhood and social networks that give us life, everyone has a better chance of receiving what is needed.  We don’t all have the same desires or needs, but then we don’t all have the same gifts or resources, either.  Authenticity and commitment to being good citizens reveals the needed gifts each of us have for making the world a better place.

Is there a way we can make genuine citizenship a lasting reality? Can we reduce the negative impact of being consumers above everything else? Can we mitigate the effects of personal ambition, greed, deception, and fear that showing up as consumer breeds in a friendship, work group, congregation or family?

What will it look like when marketing takes is rightful place as servant among us? How can we buy and sell in ways that strengthen friendships, create hope and puts values we proclaim into practice? The role of consumer has been accepted as a necessary norm along with it’s principles, strategies and goals. When we meet next time, let’s come as citizens first and see what happens.

Then we’ll have some guiding stories to a more sustainable, flourishing and peaceful community.

 

Who wins in a profit/nonprofit partnership?

Social Business has become a term describing any enterprise that serves the common good and creates a profit at the same time.   The business world is learning that what is good for people and the planet is often good for business as well.  To be sustainable, business must integrate social networks and serve other interests alongside the financial bottom line.  A true social business attends to the needs and concerns of everyone in the marketing system.  Everyone is respected as a stakeholder and treated fairly with opportunity to benefit from business transactions.

In a partnership including more than company employees, management and stockholders or owners, benefits are mutual for all participants.  Goals are modified so that everyone who contributes to the work of the business profits from any success.  Even the definition of success may change as profit comes to mean more than monetary.  Google and other social media businesses demonstrate the value of treating everyone with meaningful advantages.  Subprime mortgage derivatives and credit default swaps that show little regard for homeowners, investors and the larger community demonstrate what can happen when justice, trust, integrity and care are not employed for the benefit of all.

Balancing social and financial profits takes on survival value for businesses in a world that is becoming more conscious of hidden or external costs to consumers, workers, communities and environment. This balance is also needed for any nonprofit project that requires material resources to fulfill it’s mission.  If a nonprofit chooses to partner with a for profit company, it is important that the goals, needs and health of each is addressed.  In an ideal partnership, the for profit company will benefit from growth of their business at the same time that the nonprofit organization will grow in effectiveness by using commercial profits and resources to meet their own goals and expand their impact.

Until both groups understand their need for each other, each will operate from the assumptions of competition and scarcity rather than belonging and abundance.  Every decision or policy will be measured by who gains he most and who loses the most.  Suspicion and self interest will poison the relationship.  Results will not best serve either the social good or business interests when they are viewed in opposition to one another.

So the answer is that everyone wins.  Policies, attitudes and practices that give attention to all stakeholders provides for the most sustainable social business.  The strongest social enterprises will be those that are financially sound.  The strongest companies are those that work according to the ethical, moral, social and spiritual values that guide most nonprofit organizations serving a cause greater than their own existence.

The next question is to find those who are willing to play a game where everyone wins.