Oy Vey. I read an article earlier that made my mouth hit the floor. I’m pretty sure I whispered an expletive or three. The author lists seven reasons why your brand “must” incorporate some type of social game in order to attract and keep a community of followers. Unfortunately, I’m not joking.

Before you start yelling at me, I already understand the damn statistics:

  • 600 million users play games on Facebook. 50% of the U.S. population between the ages of 18 to 44 does so on a daily basis.
  • Ads shown inside of these games are delivered during breaks in the game. This means your ad will be seen pretty much every single time.
  • Mobile is the growth of social gaming! Yep, I know… I play AngryBirds too. Apparently, the author is convinced this will extend the penetration and reach of your campaign.

While I cannot argue with those facts, the part of the article I take offense to is this:

Social gaming produces positive emotions, stronger social relationships and a sense of achievement among users that your brand can take part in. As a result, consumers associate these good emotions with your messaging.

WRONG! There is something that produces positive emotions and stronger social relationships, and I guarantee it isn’t some damn game. It’s human interaction. Stop being lazy by letting a game do the work for you. Get out there in the trenches and cultivate those relationships. TALK TO PEOPLE. Stop worrying so much about ROI and metrics and all that other crap that self-titled “gurus” spout the need to worry about. Get back to focusing on the people themselves and watch what happens.

I absolutely hate that social media is turning into nothing more than a giant marketing tool. There’s a right and a wrong way to build a loyal and happy community around your brand. Throwing links at them, promising special sales or giving them a game to waste time with a couple of times are all very wrong. Asking people how they are, finding out who they are and figuring out a way to truly ENGAGE them is what is right.

A Community Manager isn’t someone who pushes out a bunch of rah-rah about your brand and then sits back and promises to make things right when something goes wrong. A Community Manager is right there IN the community… talking to people… getting to know them… making them truly feel connected to what you are doing. When this happens, all of that ROI mumbo-jumbo will naturally happen all by itself. Pinky promise.