Why Social Media isn't so...Social

I recently listened to a Town Hall on Sirius XM radio with Duran Duran (one of my favorite bands from the 80's). They were discussing the social media and YouTube for artists and musicians. The guys were talking about how expensive it is to create a video nowadays and how they don't necessarily translate into the sales it takes to actually produce one. Simon Le Bon mentioned the age of MTV and how that has changed over the decades. He brought up a great point - watching music videos on MTV used to be a social activity. We've replaced MTV with YouTube, Facebook, etc.

Today, social media isn't all that social.

NOW the THRILLER event was SOCIAL!

NOW the THRILLER event was SOCIAL!

As a social media marketer, I thought about that. He's right. Everyday I drive to my daughter's high school and wait in the car pool lane for her. Just outside the school is a large shade tree under which tens of Freshmen boys hang out. Some are knocking each other on the shoulders, laughing at someone's dropped book or whatever Freshmen boys do. However, the majority under the 'Freshmen Boys Tree' are hunched over looking at their phones. Every single day. They aren't talking to anyone, just swiping through their phones.

Simon Le Bon said that in the 80's kids would get together in front of the TV to watch music videos, rent videos and catch the latest episode of the Brady Bunch. Do you remember when Michael Jackson's Thriller video premiered on MTV? It was on December 2, 1983 - the 13 minute mini movie/music video event of the season! We all huddled around the TV with popcorn and were maybe even lucky enough to push record on the VCR so we could watch it again! It was social. Everyone talked about it the next day. We shared in that moment at the exact same time.

Social media is actually quite individual and anonymous.

Today, social media is actually quite individual and anonymous. Yes, you are commenting and liking and retweeting to an 'audience', but who are these people really? I can't tell you how many times I get people saying to me random things from my Facebook posts "I loved your kitchen remodel! Who is your contractor?" Well, um, that's funny, you didn't like my post, you didn't comment there, but you still mention it! Sadly, in the age of lessening human interaction, we just expect people to message us on Facebook, text us or email us. We don't really expect them to actually walk up to us and discuss things. It's sort of 'stalker like' when they do say something about it! Um, hello, I put it out there for consumption. Why am I shocked?

So, what's a marketer to do?

I believe you can do these 3 steps to help with the social factor of your posts:

1. Make it shareable. Include a great graphic, cute animated .gif image, a funny video, something that gets people's attention. Make it genuine just like you would speak to that person if they were standing in front of you.

2. Ask people to share, like, comment. Examples: Grab a friend and watch this right now! Don't let this pass by without sharing with your best friend! Need a quick dinner recipe? Share this with every busy mom you know! This is a lifesaver, mind blown - share with your friends.

3. Respond to comments and talk to people using their first names. Like their comments. Respond back, continue the conversation with a truly individual response. Ask them another question to get to know them. Don't ignore your fans. You're not all that busy to appreciate them. If you are too busy, hire someone or grab an intern to do it. Make sure the voice of your posts is warm, inviting, edgy, professional, helpful, appreciative...whatever you want your brand voice to be.

When sending an email newsletter, use the HTML code to add the 'First Name' to the greeting or in the subject line. Everyone loves their name. They like to be addressed using it.

Everyone loves their name. They like to be addressed using it.

Better yet, take some time this weekend to grab your friends, schedule a ride with your Uber APP and head over to the local rooftop pub that you found on Twitter with a Groupon you bought online. When you get there make sure to 'check in' on Facebook and post a photo of your beer with a perfect filter on Instagram while SnapChatting with your sister. Just saying.

Stay social,