You’re Doing Social Media Wrong
Posted by Sadie Lulei
If you’re updating your business’ social media page on the regular and genuinely receiving engagement from it, I have a few theories on pictures you’ve posted recently: latte art, a group of people smiling, a tropical scene. Of course, I’m generalizing here based on what business accounts makes it onto my personal explore page on Instagram. Business Instagram accounts seem to get free advertising when they mask their marketing with some specifically chosen aesthetic to their feed. Maybe that’s why no mom & pops businesses have social media accounts with a hundred thousand or more followers; there are just some things people are looking for in a business’ Instagram account. Viral business accounts are ones that post often, post with big picture purpose, and don’t take themselves too seriously. The way to do it: Post like just another one of the customer’s friends. That’s how you get a big following. I’m telling you this as a twenty year old who grew up watching TV and heavily consuming children-aimed advertisements, then moving onto social media at the age of ten. I used socials media networks like Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and VSCO. I watched them develop over the course of infancy to full-grown, billion dollar enterprises. That’s to say that, yes, I know how to market to people online.
In addition to navigating the social media networks at such an early age, I found a way to spike a dose of viral-growth to my accounts. My first viral post was a YouTube video where I told my audience that I believed in them and that they could do anything they wanted. It got half a million views, which was a lot for it’s time of 2007, and it was also tweeted by several celebrities. I was eight; I didn’t really care. Then I got into Facebook, because I wanted to communicate with my friends. I became an admin to Facebook pages with thousands of followers. When I made a Tumblr account, I found myself popular in two categories. First, I used my talent of writing to write fanfiction, which I’m not embarrassed to admit. I wrote about shows and couples that weren’t covered by many people, so I received most of the possible audience. As I got older, I started to explore my interest in photography. Posting my photography to my Tumblr and receiving thousands of reblogs (reposting), my following sky-rocketed. I consistently posted videos to YouTube, inheriting my subscribers from my viral video and adding to them with my present creativity. Without realizing what I was doing, I analyzed what people were paying attention to and, more importantly, why.
Some more obvious observations are that people love when businesses assert their values. It shows that they aren’t willing to take just anyone’s business, in fact, they’re willing to put profit on the line based on believing in something. Most people my age repost to their Instagram stories news of climate change and human rights, sharing information about what they truly care about all the time. When a business does so too, they begin to blend in with a customer’s friends. Similarly, candid happiness is the antidote to a false sense of identity that social media is capable of producing. This is where the sense of authenticity and fake marketing clash, and though sometimes staged candid photography can work, the public generally has the sense to detect those things. Especially the younger crowd, who are slowly but surely growing into the future consumer base.
A lack of authenticity is the reason why the world is on fire. That’s an agreement the public now shares. Corporations have been put into the vision of the public for things that are the consequence of dishonesty and ill intentions. The consumer base is no longer a sea of individuals whose thinking is penetrable with marketing based psychology, but instead of a collective conscious that has a set standards for the products they consume and the relationships they hold with one another. Competitive capitalism is dying, and once the youngest current generation is older there will be a foundation of mutual support established among all business, industries, and passions. I know this is a bold statement, that’s why I’m making it.
You’re doing social media wrong because it’s time to project human spirit through it. No need for overbearing sense of professionalism, of a need to stay identity-less, in order to appeal to any demographic. Post because it needs to be said, to be seen, to be produced. Fake posts, best known by a posed candid act or flaunting of financial gain or lacking in personality, are as bad to the internet as plastic is to the ocean. Contribute something real and have real engagement be returned to you.