Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.
Why is the use of social media so popular? It’s fun. It’s lighthearted. It offers a reprieve from life’s heaviness.
This is also why businesses are benefiting from social media. It provides a place for customers to interact casually with the brands they love, personifying them, integrating them.
Although our personal updates are in-the-moment comments about the dailyness of life, for businesses, social media updates are serious business. It’s hard work to make planned, purposeful interactions sound spontaneous and personal and well . . . real.
That’s why many businesses are using social media planners to manage their online presence. Bringing order and purpose to your company’s online mutterings is helpful, but sometimes that planning can hijack your entire marketing strategy.
Social media can begin to takeover your every waking minute: Posting to Facebook and Google+ morning, noon and night. Sending Tweets by the hour. Pinning to Pinterest every chance you get.
All these can be valuable tasks to build your online presence. But these tasks can quickly sidetrack you from the greater thing, causing you to neglect the very reason you are using social media in the first place.
Over at Social Media Today, Brad Smith reveals “3 Social Media Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making.” Mr. Smith calls us back to the basics: our business. He explains
People always want to know “how many Tweets per day should they send” or “what day should I schedule my blog posts?”
But these questions are usually pointless. Social media can’t save your brand.
Today, your product and service is your marketing. That means:
- If you’re providing a product, then make it the most innovative, unique and easy-to-use product in your space.
- If you’re providing a service, then make go above and beyond expectations to deliver the best possible customer experience.
- If you’re writing a blog post, then make it the best, most actionable or information-packed post possible.
The primary focus should be what you are offering to the market—and it isn’t your social media panache. It’s about your product or service or experience. Our reason for being isn’t to have the most Twitter followers or to get the greatest number of Likes on a Facebook status. That’s not our purpose in business—or in life.
It’s so easy to get those things switched around, isn’t it? Although Mr. Smith speaks to businesses, I couldn’t help but apply it to my own life.
In this media-driven age, it is easy to manage life like a PR campaign. We develop stories that play well to the media, things that are heart-warming or funny or unusual. Instead of living life for the joy of living it, we set up moments that we can broadcast, making life more like a production to execute to an audience rather than a life to live to the full.
I think we could learn a bit from Mr. Smith’s advice for businesses. As individuals, we should seek to live the most innovative life we can to have the best possible personal experiences. Out of that overflow, maybe we will have time to post about it via social media, or maybe we won’t. But when we do post about it, it will be full of exactly who we are—not merely a PR stunt to gain followers, likes, or reposts. Here’s to real living, in real life, to the full (John 10:10).