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Social media strategy. It’s mostly BS, you know.

Oh I’m awfully dramatical when I’m hungry, aren’t I? Apologies for the BOLD STATEMENT intro, friends. I haven’t had dinner and my blood sugar levels have hit Cranky Bitch Stage.

No, I’m not on another one of those ridic juice cleanses. (Longest three days of my life in the whole wide entire world, kids. Does not come with the Em Gold Stamp of Recommendation.) I headed out to join the cool cats at the latest Social Media Club Melbourne meet and greet, and was too concerned with my rapidly depleting phone battery to organise anything resembling dinner.

Tonight, some wise and worldly folk talked to us about Twitter strategy. What works, what doesn’t, and some little tidbits for the rest of us. It was a great night (bravo once again #SMCMelb, you guys are rocking the social media party, just saying), but as I sat there, knocking back my second glass of pinot, something became super doper evident.

It’s all subjective. All of it. Advice, strategy, expert-opinion. Our panellists were quoting case studies and giving us tips – many of which were in direct opposition to what I do every single day over at Club Nike.

Lemme be very clear. I’m not saying that it’s all wrong. Abso-effing-lutely not. But there were some key take-aways tonight that made the little game show buzzer in my head do the incorrect ‘eeeeehhhhh’ noise – just because I do it oh-so-differently. So here, in the interests of showing y’all that tailoring your social media plans is just as important as tailoring your jeans (am I seriously the only person in the world who has to roll those bad boys up every damn time? NOT EVERYONE HAS SUPERMODEL LONG LEGS, SPORTSGIRL.), let me offer you what I’m dubbing a ‘Rebuttal That Is Really Just Food For Thought’.

 

They said: When it comes to eff-ups on Twitter, the fact that it will move through the Twitterverse quickly and the less-centralised-than-Facebook part will mitigate most of the storm.

What’s not to like about this little potato gem? Suggesting that all you need to do during a social media crisis is hang onto your coffee cups and close your eyes until all the big bullies stop saying nasty things about you and then it’s high fives and Cherry Ripes for everyone? Rejoice!

Here’s the thing, folks. There is definitely something to be said for not fuelling the shit storm fire. Hands up if you’ve seen a few negative Facebook comments get waaaaay outta hand just because the Community Manager hadn’t quite mastered the time honoured art of knowing when to shut the eff up? Because they just wanted to get the last word in? (Hint: put your hands up. Only my Nana wouldn’t have seen one of these disasters and that’s because she only uses Facebook to ‘like’ my pictures and hasn’t actually figured out how to get out of her newsfeed yet.)

But sometimes, keeping your mouth shut is the very worst thing you can do. Sometimes, people are waiting on an apology. Sometimes, people just want to hear your side of the story.  Heck, sometimes they even just want to know that you care that their brand new apricot umbrella isn’t the exact same shade of apricot as in the brochure, dammit. Sometimes, silence isn’t dignified and people will take it either as an admission of guilt and/or complete indifference and that could very well turn a few pissed customers into a legit angry mob, in full pitchfork and flames mode. Trust me. Been there, survived that mess.

 

They said: Show your CEO the social media stats. Scare them into joining in the conversation.

Oh boy, do we community managers love our stats. Bonus points if we can find them in one of those cool little animated infographics. If you can show me a social media preso without the obligatory oh-em-gee-you-wont-believe-how-many-videos-are-being-viewed-on-YouTube-right-now shock stats and I’ll shout you a trip to Tassie. (Soz. There’s an actual chance that one of you might actually find one and Jetstar have cheap flights on this week and I really don’t wanna max out my credit card when I was just trying to make a point, you know?). We. Like. Stats.

And stats are great. I mean, I’d never trust them to look after my dog for the weekend, but there is that certain je ne se quoi about a little FOMO. When it doubt, wheel it out, and with a little bit of sparkle, you can usually get your way.

But the thing about FOMO – it’s kind of like that feeling you get in the cab on the way home after a big night, when you’re 120% certain that a Big Mac is the only thing that will make your life complete. It’s emotional. It’s fleeting. And much like that loser you dated on Tinder for 17.5 minutes, it’s difficult to sustain any sort of long-term commitment.

If you use scare tactics to get your CEO onto social media, it’ll work 94.7% of the time (yep, I’m just making stats up now). But if they don’t have an appetite for it (I’m talking about social still here folks, not the aforementioned Big Mac. Try to keep up), it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll have the energy to maintain it long term. And as we all learned in Day One – Social Media For Dummies 101 – an abandoned social media presence is worse than no social media presence at all. (Tattoo it to your head if you have to.)

Also, ask yourself this. If they’re TUIF (that’s Tweeting Under the Influence of FOMO), how authentic is it going to be?

 

They said: Segment your channels. Use different accounts across different platforms to reach different target markets.

Guise. GUISE! What a great idea! What if we make a Twitter account for our female customers and a Twitter account for our male customers and a whole other one for our dog customers, and we’ll talk about lipsticks and bras with the girls and cars and beer with the boys and only tweet in woofs for the pooches. THIS IS THE MOST SOLID SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY ANYONE HAS EVER THOUGHT OF. The Internet is won! #MuchHooray

It makes sense, right? Except, when you have multiple channels you have multiple places where your customers can hang out. And, as anyone who has ever had to look for their keys when they needed to be out the front door 11 minutes ago knows – the more options you have, the longer it can take to find them, and the more opportunity there is for them to get lost in the first place. And also, more channels = more content creation, but that’s totally unrelated to the whole key example because anyone who has time to post content while looking for their car keys clearly isn’t running quite as late as they claim to be, yunno?

The moral of the story? (I have one, I promise.)  Know your audience. There’s so many ways you can target your content these days – and sometimes keeping it simple really is the best bloody way you can ‘do social’. (Does anyone actually know what the verb of social media is? Socialising? Media-ing?) If you’ve ever had to pick a spot in an empty car park, you’ll know that too much choice can be damn overwhelming and sometimes, one brand voice, carefully curated so that I’m shown what’s relevant to me and my interests, really is the best way for a brand to get my attention.

And also, I’d never follow a brand that only shows me lipstick and bras just because I’m a girl. Seriously guys, it’s 2014, alright??  I like beer too.

 

They said: Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag. Sprinkle that shit around errywhere. As soon as you tell people where the conversation is, they’ll talk there.

Hashtags are legit, the sun-dried tomatoes of 2014. You can’t get a dish in a restaurant that doesn’t have them, sprinkled around with merry abandon. We slap those bad boys on pens, on business cards, on cars, on trees, on coffee cups and, as I learned tonight, not even our bananas are safe. #SaveTheBananasFromHashtags

Social Media type people will tell you that the humble hastag is essential for a marketing campaign’s success and HOW ELSE WILL WE TRACK IT IF THERE’S NO HASHTAG? Think of the analytics. Oh why will no one think of the analytics??

There’s something to be said for telling people where they should be having a conversation. We’re sheep. We need a little guidance here and there; otherwise we’ll totes end up going in the ‘out’ part of the Maccas drive-thru.

Except sometimes we don’t. Sometimes brands should stop trying to drive the party and just show up with the coolest people and do the run to Dan Murphys when the beer runs out. As Jeff Goldblum so eloquently put it ‘life will find a way’. So will Twitter. All us Tweeps are fun, witty, cool peeps, and sometimes we want to put our own stamp on a hashtag and do our own thing and there’s nothing you can put on a promotional pen to change our minds. Sometimes we’ll even resent you for trying and then you could be looking at the business end of a rebellion and, dare I say it, even a hijacking.

And don’t EVEN think about being those fools who try and change an organic hashtag. #WeRool is fine. I get that the correct spelling is #WeRule but no-body likes the Fun Police, ok?

Oh, and don’t forget that sometimes, marketing folk can’t be trusted to come up with hashtags. We all remember #susanalbumparty right??

 

They said: There are 300 sharks in WA who tweet.

This. THIS IS WHAT THE INTERNET IS FOR.

#SharksOnTwitter

 

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2 Comments
  • Information
    September 18, 2014

    I agree. To be honest, I find this entire world a shaking mess of hubris. I *hate* hearing experts tell people how to do it. Honestly, it’s like telling people how to be nice and reasonable. If they don’t already know, no amount of teaching’s going to help them get it.

    It’s a little bit like writers festivals or Brainpickings; the driver is aspirational thinking, and again, there’s this stupid idea that if you just know *the secrets* then you’ll unlock some kind of instant insight or success.

    I’d take your point about ‘knowing your audience’ but to be honest, if someone had said it, you’d probably also include that under ‘stating the obvious’. And it’s true. It was probably so self-evident that nobody even bothered to mention it.

    • Em
      September 18, 2014

      Good call (or calls!).
      I find it fascinating, watching the Twitter streams, that everyone seems to take these tips as the golden bullet that will propel them into social media success, by regurgitating them verbatim – rather than in the spirit of thought starters to help get you thinking about the way that you do things.
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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