In “Social Media or Social Marketing” part one I wrote about the people who do it, or better worded, the people other people think should do it, and a few of the traits necessary to do it.
So this leads on to another direction to discuss. What exactly is Social Media? It seems very much to me that over the last few years that has changed massively. I don’t feel it is Social Media now but Marketing Media. There is a big difference.
I shall explain:
I went out with a man. He was an artist. He was an okay artist, a bit too lazy to ever become anything. He believed the world owed him something. A couple of weeks into the relationship, we were out with some friends (of mine), he invited them back to his house for a nightcap. He then pulled out some of his pictures and started trying to sell them to my friends. To say ‘awkward’ is a massive understatement. I was furious. The minute the friends left I told him off. He did not understand what the problem was, he never did. We didn’t last long after that.
Social is the way it was originally invented – to connect like-minded friends/people. Facebook was originally set up on a campus, then moved on to other universities and then was launched into the world. Growing exponentially. With that growth, the marketing value was seen. In my original social media incarnation, I was quite successful. It was new and therefore if people saw an advert on Facebook they didn’t originally connect the dots that they were being marketed to/at. It was all quite gentle. Move on a few years and people are constantly complaining about it. That all of it is so intertwined with google searches could suggest greater powers are at work behind the scenes and spying on you, if you were that way inclined. When you take the black web into account that is getting even murkier, just having what you plugged into google then turn up in your feeds all over the place is annoying at best, quite unsettling at worst.
I don’t know if anyone reading this has followed those irritating ‘shock’ stories that appear on the right in that advert column on Facebook? You know the ones that make massively outrageous and shocking claims about celebrities? “Meghan Markel heartbroken as the Queen blasts her” “The World Mourning Madonna” etc? Try it if you have five minutes to spare if you want to see what crap marketing is, this is it. Make a claim, and have absolutely no reference whatsoever to it once you have clicked the link. I presume some people must stay and then pay, otherwise, it wouldn’t happen.
Instagram is another interesting one – initially purely for sharing instantly taken photos (the name is from Instant and telegram), Started in 2010, bought by Facebook in 2012. It started its exploration into monetization in 2013, by 2017 it had changed so obviously to an advertising platform. Now every 11th photo is an advert.
So here is the dilemma. Social media or marketing media?
When we do our ’social media’ jobs are we being social or are we just trying to find the best way to market and sell? Are we looking for advocates? are we sharing fun experiences or are we subtly selling? Are we entertaining? educating? or just trying to get more followers and likes (whatever the platform)?
I think this is where I am starting to diverge away. I like the social aspect of social media. When I do a google search for some information, I can see within seconds whether it is a bona fide information article or if it is just a clumsy advertising hook. The clumsy ad hooks are starting to make me incredibly angry.
I have followed numerous courses on how to monetize your site/blog, I know all the theory. I know about slugs, tags, keywords, breadcrumb trails and what have you, and it just pisses me off. For me it’s a little bit like trying to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, trying to be your friend. It reminds me of the above-mentioned ex-boyfriend, being your friend, inviting you in and then doing the hard sell. That is not the type of socializing I like.
If anyone reading this has been to a makeup, underwear, jewellery or kitchen container type of party, particular the pyramid selling types of 20 or 30 years ago, this is what it feels like. You go in, maybe just for a look and suddenly have this hard sell going on in front of you, so in the end you feel awkward enough to scan quickly for the cheapest item you can take, or screw up your courage to say “Nah, nothing I really like here”. On the internet, it seems to just translate to ranting 😉
There’s an interesting thing that happens in countries where they are used to bartering. In the tourism area, they don’t put prices, they’ll explain that’s because the deal is you bargain and get their best price. I have spent a lot of my life in these types of places. I have tried to advise them (being friendly) to put some fixed price labels on their wares. People who aren’t used to bargaining for toilet rolls and coffee, or a silver bangle, generally hate it. So the vendor generally thinks they will get a better price because Mr. Unused-to-bartering will not be very good at bargaining. What they never seem to take into account is the amount of business lost because people do not want to get sucked in and then say no, so they won’t even put themselves in the situation. It’s priceless, you watch them storming through the souks and markets as closed off from the locals as they can physically make themselves.
So, in my mind it is a similar issue, you keep shoving this selling in my face, you keep asking me to sign up for your newsletter, you won’t let me look any further in your website until I give you my email address, you think I’m a fool and just an opportunity, and that irritates the shite out of me. You think by putting my google search question as a title in your article but then never answering is going to work? Trust me, it isn’t.
I don’t know where it will all end, but I suspect the life of the internet is limited. People appear to be split into two camps, one side who wants a transaction with the other. It’s a bit like the rise of little local supermarkets that continue to open up. There is only so much food anyone wants, there is not enough business for everyone. Where I live there is one road that used to have one supermarket in the length, now there are 7. Now instead of one very busy one, there are 7 quite empty supermarkets.
As soon as I see the title ‘The ten best ways to …’ ‘ The five easiest …’ ‘The most extraordinary thing you will see this …’ then I know they are working not trying to help me. I have been given the same advice, I have followed some of it, and yes it works, and now I have had enough. Just tell me what it really is ie ‘ten quite useful ways to…’ ‘Five reasonably easy …’ ‘Here’s something I thought was jolly interesting …’ That will do me just fine thank you. Please stop seeing the dollar sign over my head and trying to sell to me.