Social media (as we know it) is 13 years old; I’ve been a social media marketer for 8 years and have watched it grow into the crazy thing it is today. There are some amazing things that social has given us – connectivity, communities, Instagram filters that make you look great. But there’s a lot of crap out there too, rearing its head like a giant Internet monster. And everyone’s trying to make money$$$.
NARCISSISM IS ALIVE AND WELL
Overheard last week over drinks: “Anti-Selfie Movement”. Why is this the first time I’ve heard of it? A little (v. official) Google research shows that the #AntiSelfie Movement started in 2013 and is now…dead in the water. What could’ve been a well-founded campaign, and a creative stimulus, kinda screwed itself with the fact that the person(s) behind it decided to try and make money off of it by recording a song. How ‘bout no. (Side note: Ironic that they aspired to join the ranks of the actual selfie money-makers like Kim K.) Luckily (or unluckily, depending how you view it), selfies are here to stay. I posted a #selfie just yesterday, babes, and there ain’t nothing wrong with a little self love.
SELL ANYTHING – CLOTHING. A MENTAL ATTITUDE. YOURSELF.
You’ve seen them everywhere – hash-tag-positive posts reeking of false sincerity. A quote they didn’t write, ‘thankful’ and ‘blessed’ peppering every other sentence (btw this blogger and this news article nail it), a sexually suggestive photo with a ‘positivity’ caption that is entirely unrelated. Don’t get me wrong – I’m 100% for PMA but does it have to be ingested, chewed up and spat out through social media? By the way – your parents can see that #sexy pic, your friends’ parents and your colleagues too. Also, at the time of posting there are 56.9 MILLION posts using the tag #blessed.
EVERYONE IS A CEO/FOUNDER/ENTREPRENEUR/ALL OF THE ABOVE
Anyone can be the founder of a company. That’s the beauty of the startup age! But just because you thought of a brand name and set up social media channels for it doesn’t mean you’re a ‘CEO’. It means you can think of names and are capable of setting up social media profiles. Just like, oh, everyone else. Make it legit – at the very least you could register the company officially (£12 in the UK) – not saying that you should just so you can feel important. Don’t waste your time unless you have necessary funds to invest, know there’s potential business from it and how to actually run the business (or can pay people to do it for you – do you know anything about accounting?). Otherwise you’re screwed.
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN FOR BRANDS THO
- CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT DOESN’T JUST APPEAR OUT OF NOWHERE. You can’t invade the comments sections of people’s profiles and expect them to engage with you. They’re busy editing their next selfie. Create meaningful content that provokes reaction and interest from your target demographic.
- CUT THROUGH THE CRAP. There’s so much social noise, and so many brands trying to get themselves out there. Your brand needs to be authentic. 100% unequivocally genuine.
- WANT TO ACTUALLY START A COMPANY? Make sure you have a) an original idea for a product or service – but not a niche that’s so small you’ll never generate any business, b) a defined target market – how are you gonna reach your potential customers?, and c) strong brand and digital comms strategies in place (06:pm can help you out there, just sayin’).
WHAT NEXT THEN
- You know there are incred positives to all of this – one of the best (imo) is that brands have access to anyone and everyone on social. Now, I don’t mean exploit their personal information, I mean TAKE YOUR CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT TO A NEW LEVEL. Everyone loves a selfie, so do your next campaign casting via Instagram à la Marc Jacobs. This is also a highly cost-effective way to cast a model, btw.
- Take a cold, hard look at your social comms and ask yourself: is my brand REAL. Are we creating AUTHENTIC MESSAGES that REAL PEOPLE can relate to. IS EVERY OTHER POST AN #INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE. Maybe you need a new strategy.
- Think you got a hot idea and want to start a company? GO FOR IT. But first figure out your company structure, do your research, pick a brand name (and make sure it’s available/register it on key social platforms). Then think about next steps.