When we were kids, I’m sure we all have tried – at least once, if not more, given how much fun the activity is – ringing someone’s doorbell and running away to hide and watch the befuddled expression in the face of the person who opens the door. It remains one of the most interesting ways to kill a boring afternoon, if you’re a kid. Overdoing it will, of course, hurt your butt, thanks to a good round of spanking from your parents.

Now, imagine how many brands ring the doorbell of its customers/prospects but are nowhere to be found when they open the door – this is happening online! Brands jump into the fray, create a channel on say, Facebook, and keep adding content that they assume may interest people. Then, they ring the doorbell, using Facebook ads.

On twitter, they don’t ring the doorbell at all. Or, as some brands do, they try ringing the doorbell and run away even before it rings.

Back to Facebook ads – those ads act as the doorbells and lead the person to the brand’s page. What happens then? If the doorbell ringer’s objective is to sell something, the door will be slammed shut, like it happens in real life. If the seller has done enough homework on what that customer needs, he could perhaps get a 2 minute window for his pitch. Considering the massive numbers in Facebook, minute personalization becomes difficult and all brands have is a doorbell ringer worth of attention.

So, the door opens…the customer peers outside (inside, on Facebook), looks left and right (up and down the wall, on Facebook) and if he doesn’t find anything interesting, he shuts the door – that’s one opportunity lost.

Brands also push the doorbell by using the Facebook/Blog/Twitter URL in other forms of communication – interested customers are likely to attend to the door in the hope that something may be interesting. So, the only thought that needs to happen at a brand’s end is to worry about what is needed to sustain the interest of the person who opens the door.Will you say something sensible enough to know more about the customer, so that you don’t have to be a stranger ringing the doorbell, next time?

The point is…do not indulge in childish prank of ringing the customer’s doorbell and running away. It may be amusing to you, but it certainly won’t amuse the customer.

Pic by JKönig via Flickr.