We’ve lost our way in the social media deluge. We’ve been swept off our feet and carried along wasting time and money.
I’m not referring to our personal social media usage (although that could certainly use its own reform). I’m referring to how we businesses use social media.
At some point most businesses (and most digital marketing agencies who serve them) stopped treating social media as a social medium.
We businesses have been shouting at the masses via social media hoping people pay attention to our awesome products and services. We do it with posts and ads.
Even most digital marketing agencies prefer to just toss clients into a semi-automated funnel, schedule content, and run ads without much of a human element.
^ That isn’t social networking. It’s boring old advertising. And hey, it works for many purposes. But we’re missing the social media mark and our social media marketing is suffering as a result.
Social Media Advertising Hurdles in 2021
The advertising first method of social media usage, combined with other factors has led to numerous hurdles to social media advertising including:
- Ad dependence to reach an audience,
- Increasing percentage of inactive users on major “big name” social platforms,
- High cost for small businesses to get noticed,
- Censorship and deplatforming,
- Unexpected fluxes in visibility and social reach,
- And more
The hurdles got a bit higher in 2020 as social media activity skyrocketed due to the Coronavirus lockdowns and US general election – all while social media companies chose favorites, squeezed businesses for ad revenue, and increasing content volume led to decreasing returns for many businesses. Then social activity took a dip on some platforms by late 2020 (much of which may be bouncing back but not without giving some newcomers a serious boost in users and visibility).
Many of these problems have been exacerbated by businesses (including the networks, the marketing agencies, and the advertising businesses themselves) putting advertising first in their online networking.
It’s time we put social back in our social media.
Putting Social First
Being social on social media increases follower engagement, increases your awareness of what your audience and potential customers want, and is just plain human.
Putting social first has a cost – our time and emotional investment. But isn’t that what relationships are built on? Isn’t great business built on great relationships?
Can we as an economy continue moving in a predominantly transactional direction? I don’t think we can. Not without losing a part of our souls.
How to Put Social First On…
The Old Guard
The social media platforms that are currently ruling our digital age. You know the names.
They are geared heavily for ad revenue and to get you to keep scrolling and clicking.
While on The Old Guard it is easy to just like and retweet yourself along. Even easier to throw ad money at the wall and pray something sticks.
Stop. Put social first.
Comment. Engage. Reshare with your own thoughts.
It’s both more effective and brings a human level back to your social media interaction.
The Fresh Communities
There are fresh communities popping up all the time. Some, like TikTok and Clubhouse are aiming to become the next big names (and ad revenue generators) utilizing video and audio media.
Then there are fresh communities with a more traditional social media feel like MeWe and Mastodon. Although the feel of these fresh communities is familiar their business models are far from it. MeWe relies on paid subscriptions for pro features. Mastodon relies on volunteers and donations within a federated network. These fresh communities in particular are putting social first by nature because their business models make the user the customer rather than the product.
Regardless of which fresh communities you engage in you can put social first for big returns. Although the user base is smaller the social component is all that more important. If you put in the energy you’ll form real human relationships with real people in a surprisingly short time span.
The key here is always to engage in other user’s content. Just like in everyday life, putting others first works and builds relationships. Try it.
Let’s get back to social networking
Are you with me?
Then I challenge you to comment instead of merely like.
Share someone else’s content in addition to your own.
Shout out how great another company’s services are (in a different industry of course).
I challenge you to put social first.
R Creative is Looking for Social First Social Media Talent
I (Joshua) only have the time to amp up my own social interactions. But R Creative wants to launch a new social media service focused on real human interactions around our clients brands (and our own).
Have you already been doing this sort of work? Know someone who has some killer social talent that is genuine. We want to speak with them.