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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How to Get a Celebrity to Answer You on Twitter

As anyone who has ever been retweeted, favorited or answered by a celebrity on Twitter knows, it’s an amazing feeling.

Andrew WK Follows Me!
The day Andrew WK followed me I rejoiced.

What is more validating than a famous person answering your tweet?  The thought of a celebrity being amused by what you have to say, or chuckling to him or herself at your pithy quip is delightful.  It makes you feel good.  As a social media professional, I feel qualified to give some tips on how to get a celebrity to answer you on Twitter.

This involves some Dos and Don’ts.

DON’T:

  • Beg.  For the love of Pete, keep your dignity! “@justinbieber OMG PLZ FOLLOW ME I LUV U SOOOOO MUCH XXXX” is just sad.
  • Be sarcastic.  You may think your sarcasm is witty and clever, but it is rarely well understood when written, so don’t try to catch a celebrity’s attention with sarcasm.
  • Be insincere.  Though sarcasm can be hard to spot, insincerity is easily identifiable in 140 characters. “@jtimberlake I looooooved you in ‘Bad Teacher,’ I totally thought it was oscar-worthy. Please follow!” Well that combines insincerity (because please, no one thought “Bad Teacher” was a good movie) and begging, so it’s a double no-no.
  • NEVER LIE.  Related to insincerity, lying will get you nowhere and will most likely get you into trouble later.  That’s not really about getting retweeted by a celebrity, but just Twitter advice in general.
  • Promote yourself.  “@BrunoMars My band is playing covers of your song at our concert. Can I get a RT?”  No.
  • Be irrelevant. Tweeting at a celebrity about a topic in which they are likely to have absolutely no interest is simply not going to get you anywhere.

Twitter LogoNow, a disclaimer: I’m about to list some Dos, but you should note that lots of celebrities don’t have their @ setting enabled (they don’t get notifications when they’re tweeted at), so they won’t see your tweet.  Also, if you’re tweeting at someone who has millions of followers, your tweet is likely to be missed.  That said, here are some ways to get yourself noticed and tweeted back.

DO:

  • Follow interesting people.  Follow people who tweet things that are relevant and interesting to you. Don’t follow people just because they’re celebrities.
  • Tweet interesting things. Foster your Twitter presence by tweeting frequently (without being a spam nuisance) and by sharing interesting content.  Link to good articles, retweet fun things, make pertinent, clever and smart observations.  It is possible to be eloquent and interesting in 140 characters, and you don’t want to fill your Twitter history with inanities.
  • Get to know the celebrity.  If you spend enough time on Twitter, you’ll get to know the kinds of things that celebrities retweet, mention or comment on.  If Kevin Bacon tends to tweet about his musical activities and his movies, then tweet at him about seeing him in a show or a movie.  Get to know celebrities’ interests, then share in them.
  • If you’re really desperate, identify the softies.  Russell Crowe’s heart will absolutely melt if you tell him it’s your birthday, you’ve been a fan for a long time, you’re running a race today and you’d really appreciate a retweet.  Bingo.  Cesar Millan will swoon if you tell him you just went out and got your son a rescue pit bull pup for his birthday and can you get a shout out (n.b. include a photo in this one).  Figure out who the celebrities are who like to make people feel good by answering their tweets.  There you go.  Sorted.  (But remember what I said about insincerity!  Don’t do it!)
  • Be yourself.  Just tweet about what you like.  If you’re having a whale of a time on Twitter, then people (including celebrities you mention) will notice.
Celebrity Interaction
Brendan Kelly is a local Montreal radio personality who apparently also likes the Rolling Stones!

Interactions with celebrities on Twitter are great.  But they are not the whole point of the platform.  The best way to get noticed, get mentions, retweets and gain followers, is to put out fun and good content.  Essentially, have a good time on Twitter and Twitter will have a good time with you.

Simples.

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Guerrilla Marketing: You’re Doing it Right

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have seen one of the many hilarious GIFs floating around the internet.  Like this one of Jennifer Lawrence at the Met Gala a few weeks ago.

JenniferLawrence
Seriously, can we be best friends??

GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format” and it’s what makes animated images.  Invented in 1987 by Steve Wilhite, both the GIF and its inventor were honored this week at the Webby Awards.  Wilhite’s 5-word acceptance speech (delivered as a GIF) sparked a debate all over the internet.

“It’s pronounced ‘Jif’. NOT ‘GIF’.” -Steve Wilhite

Cue: OUTRAGE!!  “But we’ve been pronouncing it ‘gif’ this whole time!”  “Bah, you fools, everyone knows it’s pronounced ‘jif’!”

This is where the guerrilla marketing comes in.  Like Oreos did so brilliantly at the Superbowl, the folks over at Jif peanut butter had a marketing creative on hand who was struck with a genius idea.

And, of course, that link takes you to this:

 

It's Pronounced Jif

 

Don’t stare too long, you might have a seizure.

GENIUS!!  Timely, apt, clever and très à propos!

This tweet got nearly 2,000 retweets and garnered new followers for Jif on Twitter.  They still don’t have an enormous following, but if they continue to engage in awesome guerrilla marketing tactics like this, it won’t take long for their fan base to grow.

This and the Oreo ad from the Superbowl show the value of having a connected and empowered social media team.  When brands invest in social media monitoring and allow their social media managers to take action (within guidelines, of course), they open the door to these moments of creativity that give their brand visibility and popularity.

Build social media strategies, give employees free reign to come up with engaging content, and your brand will come out a winner.

Well done, Jif.  Next time I’m in the market for some peanut butter, you will certainly get my dollar!

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