Social Media Fluff: The Honeymoon Is Over

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social media honeymoonIt’s been a fun ride, social media. We dashed down the aisle after barely knowing one another, and have spent the past few years in a blissful state on the beach, lapping up libations made of kitten memes and ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ posters.

But alas, the honeymoon is OVER.

It’s back to reality for us lovebirds, and the forecast is looking a little dismal for the unicorn riders and rainbow huggers.

What Memes Would Look Like In Real Life

What changed? The consumer.

We stuffed so much sickly, sweet gobbledygook down their throats — loads of insta-quotes, and “YOU CAN DO IT” fodder — that the stars in their eyes burst for being too full and snapped them back to reality.

I mean, would YOU trust some brand that was feeding you lines of crap all week when it came time to buy?

Imagine walking into Nordstroms to buy a pair of shoes and getting accosted by a salesperson who throws glitter in your face, hands you a basket of kittens, and tells you to keep calm and carry on while shopping.

Meanwhile over the loudspeaker you hear things like:

“Sometimes you have to be your own hero.”

“Every pro was once an amateur. Every expert was once a beginner. So dream big and start now.”

“If you are waiting for the right time, it’s now.”

(I didn’t even have to scroll on my feeds to find this crap – sad!)

I don’t know about you, but I’d run screaming from Nordstroms, never to return. I don’t care if they’re my favorite store. I don’t care if they have fantastic customer service.

The cockamamy quotes, and other ridiculous garbage:

  • Have nothing to do with their brand
  • Do nothing to instill trust between consumers and their brand
  • Is all hype and social media fluff; is nothing real or meaningful
  • And actually makes me question their authority

The Tipping Point

My story above exemplifies what consumers are now experiencing online. They aren’t buying the fake “lessons” and they’ve gone back to scrutinizing brands’ every move.

With so much nonsensical and non-informative content pollution filling our steams, it’s no wonder many experts feel consumers are suffering from content shock.

The tipping point: Evidence is now required for trust.

We need to be more believable, be more human, and start helping our communities more.

Jay Baer may have said it best with:

“Smart marketing is about help not hype.”

Is Creating Content Worth It?

Of course it is. Consumers have insatiable appetites. We need information to make decisions. To help us. To make sense of things.

But as digital publishers, we need to be able to scale our efforts; to make them actionable.

We need tech standards; rules and guidelines. We need to understand what the consumer is asking for when it comes to TRUSTING and BUYING FROM our brand.

Because if we’re only using social media to tell people to keep calm and hug a kitten, what’s the point?! 

We need to test and learn when it comes to the content our consumers want most (and no, likes and shares of memes don’t count.) Meaning, what’s the return on investment of that published piece of content? How’s it helping? How’s it selling? How’s garnering trust for you/your company/your brand?

Brands are only as strong as their conversations.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you having conversations?
  • Are your conversations strong? Or weak?
  • Are your conversations helping or hyping?
  • Are your conversations painting the picture of what you do/how you help/why you’re trustworthy?

If we want to find a solution for content shock, we’ve got to start creating innovative content that provides an experience for the customer.

And that goes way beyond the regurgitation of someone else’s words and ideas.

See you in the social sphere!

photo credit: daniel pozo via photopin cc

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Brooke Ballard

Brooke Ballard

Founder & Chief Digital Strategist at B Squared Media, LLC
Like many of you, Chief Digital Strategist and Founder of B Squared Media, Brooke Ballard, has seen a fundamental shift in business due to social media. How do businesses take advantage of this? Where do they start? Is social media for everyone? In-the-trenches online media experience helps B Squared Media answer these questions for companies seeking to formulate successful social strategies. Using tactics developed in her yearlong honors thesis study, Brooke helps bright and innovative entities develop social strategies around content, community, conversation, collaboration, and conversion. Simply put: Think Conversation, Not Campaign.™ Click here to subscribe to my mailing list
Brooke Ballard
Brooke Ballard
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Comments

  1. This is a super-strong post Brooke. I am over those self-help "rainbow bombs" too and clearly we need more focused, helpful content as you say here. Great job!

    • b2brookeballard says:

      Thanks so much, Mark! I think your content shock theory needs to be taken seriously. I think we all need to sit back and refocus on what matters. Fluffy kittens and rainbows are nice, but they don't close deals, they don't help with trust, and they (most likely) don't pertain to your brand. <end rant>

  2. Well said, Brooke. Enough of the "fluff for likes" and on to actually practicing quality over quantity. This should be written into a formal mantra and emailed to every social media marketer!
    My recent post Facebook Launches Trending Topics

    • b2brookeballard says:

      Thank you, Merlin! Quality > quantity (times eleventy-billion!). I would LOVE if this were written into a formal mantra and emailed to every social marketer out there … can we make that happen?? ;-)

      But seriously, thanks for chiming in with your kind words and #TruthSpeak!

  3. If your market is business people who want results, then I couldn't agree more. Especially agree that testing content via social media is important. Nice post – I like the way you think! :)
    My recent post Peter Byrne on the Art of Building a Successful Virtual Company

    • b2brookeballard says:

      Stephen, Wait. You mean there are peeps who DON'T want results??? Amazing. Who are these people? They must be gah-bah-jillionaires who have money to burn. ;-)

      Testing IS important. And I'm even okay with the occasional YOU CAN DO IT quote or meme. However, if all you post is that CRAP (yes, it's crap), then you have not one little, teeny weeny iota of common sense (much less social media sense) and should be banned from accepting money from people to "do" their social media. &lt;end rant&gt;

      I'm glad you like the way I think! And can handle my sarcasm. Thank you so much for weighing in and sharing your thoughts! :)

  4. Sean Johnson says:

    This is the best article I have read about social media in weeks. I tend to bundle all digital marketing into one pile and the base of that pile is the vast amount of noise that has to be sorted through hourly on most social media sites. UX/UI people have let consumers down, content development people have let consumers down, and finally the consumers have perpetrated this chain of horrible content and misguided postings because they have tolerated it. I am glad to see that the users of social media are becoming more discerning. In the end it will make the marketers job more transparent and valuable.

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