Yesterday I was browsing my Facebook newsfeed and immediately noticed that it was cluttered with about 90% brand pages. I didn’t see anything from my close friends, I didn’t see anything from my team, my partners, or my clients. All I saw was a bunch of MARKETING. I saw attempt-after-attempt to “engage me.”
All I could think of was how awful the experience had become. In the midst of all this stuff, I saw a beacon of sanity.
…and you know what, he’s right…Marketers ruin everything.
Let’s fix that…
Please pay attention to us
Recently, I’ve found myself talking people out of using social media. I want to be clear, I still have a strong belief in the power of social media to change business and change the world. But “the home feed of all social media” is starting to reek of desperation.
No girl wants to date the guy that begs for attention.
No guy wants to be with the ultra-dependent girl.
In the midst of this social media marketing push, everyone is begging for attention and using the same regurgitated formula that you see everywhere.
- The best time to post is blah blah blah
- The best kind of content to post is blah blah blah
- The optimal number of times to post is blah blah blah times per day.
Lipstick on a Pig
Much of what I’m hearing from people trying to get involved in social sounds like a parent trying to get into Justin Bieber because “the kids like it.” It’s the dad that wears his hat backwards and sags his pants, as if that will somehow get him accepted into his son’s group of friends.
Cute cat photos work, memes often work, in most cases ridiculous viral videos work, but what does that have to do with your brand? What is that “engagement” actually worth?
In some rare cases a brand will “nail it” and put out something that resonates. Unfortunately what happens next is that other brands catch wind of it, and now your dry cleaner is trying to be the Old Spice guy on Facebook…poorly might I add.
First and foremost people use social media to connect with people, NOT your brand. Brands are an afterthought, an inconvenience, often an acceptable trade off for a free platform.
Engagement, a word that once meant something, has been reduced to whether or not someone liked or retweeted something. That’s not engagement, just like how a Facebook “friend” isn’t necessarily your friend.
Marketers are now just competing to yell louder and because they can pay to play, they are often drowning out the voices of the very people that we came to be SOCIAL with, our FRIENDS.
Honestly, I feel like we’re back in the days before social media, when the ability to generate attention was hoarded by a small number of channels.
Get back to basics
I feel like I’m being the social media hippie here singing Kumbaya and talking about love, but someone has to do it.
Social Media does not belong to brands…it NEVER DID and it NEVER WILL. Once a platform becomes dominated by marketing, it will cease to be social, and we will have lost the magic. What makes Social Media special is not that you have a place to put an infographic that will bring people back to your lead funnel, it’s that you have a profound opportunity to connect people to people. Yes, you should have a content strategy, you should have lead generation, and you should have a strong desire to learn from your customers, clients, audience, etc. But please marketers, stop adding noise and stop with the formulaic nonsense.
How to fix it: a 4-step process
Realize this fundamental fact: People know why brands are on Social Media. We’re not dumb. Brands are not fooling anyone by being cute and pretending that they are just there to talk. Be clear and upfront about why you are there, we’ll respect you for your honesty.
Make sure that you have a reason to be there. Really think about it. You are a business, you have things you need to do. Social Media is not necessarily a NEED. You may think it is, but trust me on this, it isn’t. In most cases people will tune you out.
Here are 3 good reasons (among others) to be on Social Media:
- You are obsessively committed to doing something useful and valuable for your audience
- You have a segment of extremely loyal fans/customers that you want to nurture and support.
- You want to learn something about your customers and prospects and you care deeply about their thoughts and opinions.
Here are 3 bad reasons:
- “we need to be there”
- “that’s where our audience is”
- “we need a place to blast…”<—stop right there, anything with “blast” needs to GO
When you say something, mean it, own it. Don’t ask a question if you don’t actually care about the answer. Talk less, but more deliberately. You don’t have to post 2-3 times per day, or 5-7 times per week. Stop worrying about the best time to send a tweet and start worrying more about sending better tweets.
Spend more time listening than talking. This will help clear up everyone’s newsfeed and then you can spend time seeing what THEY talk about.
Am I wrong?
Am I just being a curmudgeon? Is Social Media really alive and well? Do you love the brands in your newsfeed?