losing_faith_in_social_media

Losing Faith in Social Media

Up until now, I’ve been billing myself as a social media specialist. I’ve worked as a social media manager, and I’ve done some consulting work in social media for small businesses.

But the truth is, I am losing faith in social media.

Lately, I’ve felt that social media is used far too much for marketing; it’s turned into an echo chamber (especially Facebook); and its value for providing engaging content has dwindled.

Social Media Marketing

I have written about social media marketing on this very blog. It has been, after all, my métier! But while I practiced social media marketing in my professional life, I find myself being put off by it in my personal life.

Ads are everywhere.

Every time I log into Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram now, I am faced with ads. This, of course, is completely to be expected! How else are these platforms going to make money to develop for their users? But what irks me is the way advertising is done.

Facebook right-hand column ads are notoriously bad. Twitter “promoted tweets” are hardly better. Instagram’s sponsored images are, at least, a little less annoying, since the images are usually nice. But for the most part, the ads are tacky, tasteless, and irrelevant–or worse, tastelessly relevant (one particularly badly timed ad for baby clothes showed up after I had had a miscarriage).

To be fair, that’s mostly because the people advertising have no idea what they’re doing, or how to target their ads. It’s no wonder management are constantly doubting the ROI potential of social media advertising.

Most brands get it wrong.

Then there are the brands that pay so that their content shows up in my newsfeed. There are very few brands that inspire enough enthusiasm for consumers to actively engage with them. Nike and others are the exception to the rule.

For the most part, the promos, Facebook contests, and “relaxed language” that brands try to use in social media fall very flat. It’s artificial, forced, and awkward. All things that are poison to social media users.

The Echo Chamber

This mainly applies to Facebook, due to their filtering practices. As soon as you like one or two baby pictures, wedding announcements, or articles of a feminist nature, that is all that you see in your newsfeed.

Just because I got married, had a kid, and have feminist sympathies, does not mean that I want to see only wedding shots, baby photos and articles about why the heating in my workplace is inherently sexist.

Looking at my Facebook feed, you’d think that breastfeeding mothers are being expelled from dining establishments all across North America. I can tell you that I’ve been breastfeeding in public on a regular basis for more than nine months (and in more than five countries!) and no one has ever asked me to cover myself up or nurse my child elsewhere.

The algorithm of boredom

It seems like Facebook is targeting content at me based on what its algorithms think will delight, incense, outrage, move, and otherwise scintillate me.

On the contrary, I now find Facebook extremely boring. It’s a sad, uninteresting person who only wants to hear their own ideas and opinions shouted back at them. There is no back and forth, no debate (I don’t count people hurling insults at each other and spewing vitriol as debate), and very little room for thoughtful interaction.

I’d much rather have a face-to-face conversation over a coffee, than kill even 5 minutes on Facebook.

So what does that make me?

I’ve called myself a social media specialist. I’ve maneuvered myself into this niche of online content marketing. And yet I find it boring.

The one social media platform I enjoy spending any time on is Instagram, and that’s because my closest loved ones are there. I keep my profile private, and share moments of joy from my daily life with those I love best.

But other than that, I’m over Facebook, Twitter, and the lot. So what do I do now? Career change? I can’t very well market myself as a social media expert when I spend very little of my own time there.

Well for the moment, I cannot be said to have a career. I’ll just have to continue writing (which I do like), trying to read broad and varied content, and keeping up my knitting, which is a great way to meet new, and interesting people.

Is there any way I can make meeting people through crafts my career? Any ideas?

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#worldcup

The FIFA World Cup and Social Media

#worldcupA Marketing Love Affair

The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicked off last week, and already it’s being hailed as the world’s most “social” sporting event ever. It is slated to be the single most talked-about sporting event on social media.

Marketers are getting on the bandwagon. A couple notable examples include Activia partnering with Shakira to support the World Food Program, and adidas and their #allin campaign. Coca-Cola is, as always, an official sponsor, and all kinds of sports channels are getting in on the action (ESPN, etc.).

Twitter is an enabler for marketers

Twitter is making it easy for fans and marketers to connect over the FIFA World Cup and social media. The #WorldCup hashtag center allows you to follow all tweets with the hashtag, to see the teams that are on Twitter and follow each individual game.

Magazines, brands, teams, fan clubs, individuals are all tweeting. Following the hashtag you are bound to find content from all these groups that will appeal to you. Some are trying to not-so-subtly connect their products to football, but others are fully dedicated to World Cup coverage.

How to get in on the marketing action

Offerpop and Crimson Hexagon partnered to make an infographic providing analysis of the marketing opportunity that this world-wide event presents. Take a look for some inspiration for how you and your brand can get involved in the FIFA World Cup on social media.

Offerpop’s World Cup Infographic:

World Cup Infographic

 

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How-to-use-googleplus

Why You Need to be on GooglePlus

google-hummingbird

 

“There’s nothing happening on GooglePlus!”

I hear this all the time. It’s true, fewer of your friends and family are on GooglePlus and its interface is completely different from Facebook’s. But for businesses (even small ones!), brands, and anyone who wants to make a name for themselves on the web, GooglePlus is vital to your success. Here is why you need to be on GooglePlus.

1. Google is the king of search.

Google has become so ubiquitous when it comes to online search that “to google” is now a verb. That means that your brand, business, or whatever it is, needs to show up in Google search results.

According to a presentation by Google at Social Media Week in Los Angeles at the end of last year, they perceive GooglePlus as “the future of Google.” Meaning, content shared in GooglePlus will have a big influence on what shows up in search results.

Basically, instead of thinking of GooglePlus as a social media platform, think of it as a search engine.

With its release of Hummingbird (its new search algorithm), Google has increased the importance of producing quality content in order for businesses and brands (as well as individuals) to establish themselves as experts in their fields and show up in search results. That means: blog, blog, blog! (And Hangout, and YouTube, and, and, and…)

2. An Authorship link will increase your visibility in search results.

You’ve heard it a million times: businesses should blog! We know the supposed benefits, but GOOD LORD it is a time investment!

But you’ve got to do it. And you’re better off using your real name and personal identity when you do, and linking your GooglePlus profile to your blog with Google Authorship.

GooglePlus-in-search-results
Search results will incorporate more information from GooglePlus

The new search algorithm means that more quality content from individuals in your GooglePlus circles (or connected to your circles) will show up in search results. Between two excellent blog articles, a Google search will favor the one written by John Smith who is in 345 circles, rather than the article written by “The BusyBee Honey Blog.”

Why is this? Because Google knows the value of a thought leader; a trusted person who is seen as a credible authority. People are more likely to find value in information provided by people they know (or know through the internet) than a corporate blog.

3. Google demands quality content.

Okay, so you’re blogging, and you’ve learned how to use GooglePlus. You’ve created your profile or your company page, and you’re sharing all your articles. That should do the trick, right?

Wrong.

It’s not just enough to write stuff and put it out there. It’s got to be good. And it’s got to be relevant. Your content needs to answer the questions that people are asking when they do a Google search.

If you’re just writing company news or making heavily promotional videos, no one is going to see them. Sharing them on GooglePlus will get no reaction, and it could, in fact, hurt your SEO standing because you’re spamming up the internet with content no one cares about.

Answer your customers’ questions with your content. If you’re a pet grooming business and people are searching “how often should I groom my dog,” write an article or create a short video that answers that question.

4. Being active on GooglePlus will help establish credibility.

So now you have awesome content AND you’re sharing it on GooglePlus.

How-to-use-googleplus

Now’s when the social media side of GooglePlus kicks in. It’s not enough to just put your content out there. You’ve got to help people find your content by connecting with them and building relationships.

Start out by finding communities to join, commenting on posts, and sharing other people’s good content (giving credit, of course). Then start sharing your stuff, making sure it’s relevant to discussions.

Finally: Have fun!

Contrary to popular belief, GooglePlus is fun. Lots of savvy individuals, businesses and brands are active there, and you’ll find useful and entertaining information. I’ve “met” people on GooglePlus who have enriched my understanding of wider social media, and I’ve followed news sources and joined great communities that cater to my interests.

Invest a little time in GooglePlus and good content, and you’ll see the benefits for your online presence.

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