Have you noticed how most social media is trending away from organic and real, to corporate and contrived. It is becoming something we did not sign up for – and quickly. It reminds me of the early years of the World Wide Web (we’ve been in this over 20 years), when the World Wide Web began it was organic and real. When I first signed on in 1996 there were no ads, just 'real' content. Now you can barely open a page without a video ‘auto-playing’ and one or two windows opening to show an ad. That is were social media is going, and fast. So just like we did 15 years ago, we are scrambling to block ads and get to the real stuff in social media.
Let's use Facebook as an example. When I get ‘advertising/advertorial/contrived content’ popping up on my facebook feed I usually immediately ‘junk’ it. That is, I tell Facebook I do not want to see anything from XYZ company again. Why? Because all the clutter makes it harder to see the stuff I really want to see. Of course there are exceptions but what I just described is becoming the rule for most of us.
Most of the posts we call ‘junk’ are created by a social media agency on behalf of a business. Agencies don't do 'organic' very well. Most of us know the difference and it matters. Social media is meant to be organic. That is, it is a platform where users choose to engage in interaction with one another. Organic/genuine/real is what makes social media work.
So here is our advice for companies/organizations who want to use social media effectively.
- Do it organically. That is, post and respond yourself instead of hiring an agency to contrive your content and spam us with it. Even if you post less and respond slower, make it organic and genuine. We will know it is real and be more likely to like or follow and engage.
- Don’t do it like clockwork. Social media is designed to be a snapshot in time that tells a story about us. The same is true of your business or organization. Yes, you should always thinking about what would interest the rest of us, but do not get in the pattern of always having something interesting at 8:30 every Tuesday morning. It looks scheduled and contrived, and usually is.
- Do it collectively. Your company is more than just you and/or your marketing team. What makes a marketing professional effective is not his or her ideas, but knowing how to involve everyone and curate and perfect the ideas and content of the collective.
What is most interesting to the rest of us may be the story about an employee who came to work for your company because she loves the product. Or perhaps it is the experience of the person who wrote your company to say how your product or service helped them. Etc. That is organic, and if you are listening to the there will be plenty of it.