I had an interesting meeting yesterday with someone who I very much respect: a experienced media executive with a history of success and innovation.

Part of the reason for getting together was to bounce off him a social media initiative that were getting ready to roll out in our organization. I wanted to test that our logic was sound and that all of the supporting activity that were planning ties in with the overall mission of the initiative.

(Im excited about what were planning and am looking forward to sharing it on the blog.)

A question developed for my friend while we were reviewing the plan: How will you make sure that marketing messages are distributed through the network you develop?

I had one of those moments where you start to explain and realize that your foundation concepts are so different than the traditional framework, that what you are saying sounds weak and flimsy.

We dont mandate anything when we social media for marketing, I said. We offer up pieces of relevant content and conversation, and we hope that they are useful enough to be included in the authentic dialogues of the people we are connected with.

Sounds kind of soft, doesnt it?

Today, I come across a succinct blog entry that gets to the heart of the matter more directly:

Social media is not push marketing – use it as such and watch the people run. Social media is rather, permission based marketing and is about conversation and participation. And, that conversation and participation turns out to be the marketing.

The author, Mike Brewer, is thinking specifically to apartment marketing through social media, but gets the key:

The permission embedded in social media is being part of another persons network. Youve been invited into their personal space. Its like being a guest at their home. Everything you do, particularly at the outset, needs to be consistent with the permission thats been granted to you.

You dont walk into someones house for a dinner party and shove the flier from your restaurant in their hands.

If you want to get them to think about going to your restaurant, you get into a conversation with them. You admire their taste in food. You talk about chefs youve worked with before. You ask what kind of food experiences theyve had.

You mention that you have a restaurant.

And then you wait and hope that they ask if they can come by.

Thats the kind of conversation they have implicitly given you permission to have. Thats at the heart of social media

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