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?

useful-content-marketing-strategy

The Key to Successful Content Marketing

“Content is king!”

That’s what marketing professionals and social media gurus all across the web are saying. The truth is, though, that there is already a ton of content out there. What are you saying that no one else is?

Probably not a whole lot.

But don’t feel down about it. Because there is one way to make your content marketing strategy more effective.

Make your content USEFUL.

 

Why Go For Useful Content

useful-content-marketing-strategy
You do not want this said about your content.

The bottom line is that you want your content to answer your target market’s Google search enquiries.

  • Blogging about useful information connected to your products and services will help answer peoples’ searches
  • Providing valuable and relevant information to your target audience will get them coming back to your website
  • Having a wealth of useful content will help establish your business/brand as an authority in your area of specialty

Take the Google Academy example of the outdoor store that runs a blog about all things outdoors. You’d imagine that store’s blog would include tips like “how to pitch a tent,” “5 campfire starting techniques,” and other material.

If your blog or YouTube channel is full of such useful information, you can bet interested people will come back.

My Brand is More Entertaining than Useful, Though.

Eduardo_Vargas_Tattoo
Some Chilean soccer player will probably not tattoo your brand’s logo on his neck. I’m just being honest.

Is it really? Be honest.

C’mon, do some soul searching.

Is your brand (or business) one of those brands that excites such fan loyalty and devotion that they’ll tattoo your logo on their necks? Let’s face it: probably not.

If you’re a sports store trying to be the next Nike but no one has heard of you, you can bet your “funky, entertaining” content will not excite much interest (unless, of course, it’s absolutely brilliant).

You’re probably better off blogging or vlogging about how runners can avoid shin splints.

Types of Content Marketing

There are plenty of approaches to content creation.

Brands like Buzzfeed and others go for the entertainment approach. They produce content that is there to make you laugh, cry, or simply “like.”

Others use the news angle, which is, of course, most appropriate for news and current events sites.

Still others go for shock, some for the elusive “cool” factor. There are so many different kinds of content that it would be hard to categorize them all.

But in my mind, the best content is useful stuff that answers readers’ questions quickly and effectively.

#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