Not only that the use of external mailing lists beyond the content constraints that the user signs up for is illegal, but can also destroy a reputation of an up and coming product.
It fails to grasp that the success of social media is built on two things – trust and credibility. Trust is gained from the length and longevity of the relationship; and credibility built via social proof (virality, endorsements, “Likes”). Any brand strategy for products should avoid posting to well-established social networks or groups, that the said product may not have clout with.
Let me give an example: it would be brand suicide for a company who makes Cupcake Princess Fighter* to promote the game to a forum full of Battlefield 4 fans just because we know that there are “a lot of gamers there”. However, if Cupcake Princess Fighter’s comment on cupcake articles or trends-in-fighting games topics in LinkedIn or Facebook, then the brand can be built as a new, credible, emerging player in the cupcake, fighting game market.
Social media is about one simple principle: that engagement is built on avoiding the context of marketing. As much as social media is part of marketing, it is the anti-advertising strategy where the brand tries to convince the public that the brand can be trusted and that the brand is not trying to directly sell them something. As The Oatmeal’s comic about social media implies, engaging in social media does not mean direct marketing and reaching as many people as possible (AKA spamming). Instead, there must be two simple techniques that should be applied:
- Engagement and communication with fans and similar entities and brands (not necessarily direct competitors)
- Contribution to the growing information in the internet. This could mean creating a graphic, a meme, or simply answering a question posed by somebody.
Social media is one huge party with cliques, groups and relationships that need to be understood and nurtured. These entities need to be listened to, and engaged with so that they will listen to you. Failure to understand this can mean your brand being trolled off the face of the internet.
*Not a real game. But it would be cool if it was!