But if you are cultivating community and conversation for the purpose of corralling cattle into the slaughterhouse, you are not engaging in a social strategy. You are engaging in a sales strategy, which is pretty close to the antithesis of social marketing. We are in the Relationship Era. This is no time for manipulation.
... The harder you try to sell, the more you scare -- or simply bore -- people away. This central truth is not difficult for brands to understand, but for some reason it is hard for them to internalize and act upon. What is first required is to embrace social relationship-building not as the latest marketing fad, or even as a new reality that has been forced upon you, but as a means to revaluate who you are, what you stand for and why you are in business in the first place.
So true on being Social as a company! How often do I get requests from other IBM'ers to promote things by Twitter. How often do we only broadcast and advertise. There will always be some selling, of course in Social Media, too. But the kernel of Social is building relationships, a network and trust. Don't forget it!