The Truth About Social Media

There are things about working in and/or with social media that are incredibly frustrating at times. There are certain expectations and pipe dreams that make it difficult for real marketers to accomplish anything and get recognition for small wins because all anyone is concerned with is ‘the next big thing’. Shiny object syndrome, damnit.

Thinking logically has always been the only way to get things done, for anything. You see, getting by simply isn’t enough. We as marketers are supposed to engineer not only successful, but viral campaigns. What the hell? Who said you can invent viral? Looking at some of the most viral videos of the year will only show you that the majority of them were unintentional, sincere attempts at publishing a mediocre video. Corporations and Brands can rarely do this. They’re not built on the foundation of unintentional and sincere at all – they’re built on planning, execution, money, and measurable results. I have rarely been asked to do anything viral at my job – and I’m perfectly happy with that. But the age of instant gratification and “We didn’t get our moneys worth because what you did garnered little results for the company” is unfair to my colleagues and peers who are contracted to do these kinds of things.

You see, Brands have never been exceptionally good at organic and conversational channels. In fact, before the rise of social media – this didn’t exist at all. The marketing world was focused on the Push and Pray mentality, and assumption was king. You assumed your message was the right message for your audience, in fact, you even assumed who your audience was. What frustrates me now, is that Brands assume that they are good at social media because they have volumes of followers and fans that mean nothing. They assume they are the king of conversation with their canned messages. They assume that the world revolves around them simply because they assume it.

I’m tired of fluff. The truth about social media is (contrary to Dan Zarella‘s opinion) not a perfect science. Case studies are practically impossible to replicate because the audiences will always be different. How is something a best practice just because it worked once? Case by case, no two playing fields are the same.

It’s not about ‘monitoring and engagement’ – it’s not about communications, and it’s not all about marketing. You need to understand that consumers hold the reputation of your brand with the same hands that type their tweets and like your posts. It’s time to look at a bigger, more strategic approach to social media – and it’s time to stop arguing about which department should own what. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; when you silo – You FAIL. Understand your audience, cater to them – which you most likely do on every other channel that you have (Amazon, anyone?). Stop assuming. It’s about more than being there, it’s about more than simply getting by. This is the age of the consumer – You can be a brand who cares about them, or you can be a completely self-serving brand that only cares about themselves. Stop trying to do it big and do it right for goodness sakes.




  1. Have you ever read viral loop by adam penenburg?

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