Why marketers hate social media.

July 25, 2017

If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely a marketer. Or maybe a business owner who worries about marketing. Or you – in some way – have a responsibility to make people want to buy/use a brand or product.

Poor you. Because this means you can’t enjoy social media like a normal person. Instead, this describes you:

You hop on to various social channels throughout the day (or maybe your eyes are just permanently attached to your phone) and you do stuff like…

  • Check to see how many new fans/followers are engaging with your brand/s
  • Check your ads and get annoyed they’re not performing better
  • Like, comment, share, and repost all things associated with your brands
  • Same for all the brands you may partner with, or in some way support
  • Study, notice, or obsess over the posts of your competitors
  • Check various hashtags to see if anything relevant to your brand is happening
  • Click through to media story links to see if there’s anything in there you can use
  • See things that give you ideas and wonder how you can do “that” for your own brands
  • Become fixated with the trending arc of a story that’s starting to go viral
  • Get seduced down the rabbit hole of exploring a story back to its origin

Sure, you see (and like) the occasional appearance of your friend’s new baby or your cousin’s dog. Isn’t that nice? Oh, he’s so adorable and she should…hold it. Did (insert hotel brand here) really just launch a new cocktail program that was written up in USA Today? Why theirs and not mine? WE have cool cocktails. I need to talk to our bartender about coming up with some new stuff right now.

When you think about it, it’s pretty insane. Social media ALREADY has the power to be domineering and addictive with its 24/7 access to up-to-the-second information. Handing that to a marketing-wired brain? It’s like throwing gasoline on a fire. The result is… no peace, no escape. Your brain switch is held in the “on” position, whether you like it or not.

Not only is this unfair…it’s unhealthy. And EXHAUSTING. And it may be time to renegotiate your relationship with social media. Here’s an experiment that worked for me.

  • Pick one social channel (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest…whatever)
  • Strip it of ALL associations tied to work: unfollow accounts you follow just to keep up with work/trend information, and remove (or from this point forward, stop posting) any posts related to YOUR work/brands/business.
  • Think about what you love and what brings you joy. Flowers, animals, food, technology, books, movies, fashion, nature, travel… whatever. Go seek out accounts to follow that bring your passions – and ONLY your passions – into your feed each day. Don’t cheat and just look up BuzzFeed’s list of “Top 10 Instagram accounts to follow in (category of passion).” Go explore on your own. Find the obscure accounts that are posting amazing things, but never make the Top 10 lists because they don’t have a marketing machine.
  • Take off your marketing hat every time you use that channel.  That’s now your “safe space,” where you get to just be a normal human being.  Post stuff you love, and allow that feed to make you smile every time you check it.

Yes, if you happen to be in a job that dovetails with your passions (as I am with travel), you risk falling off the wagon a bit. If you don’t have the willpower to resist obsessing over ideas, then don’t include that particular passion in your “safe” social channel. Surely you have other passions?

A few months ago, I tried this with Instagram. I unfollowed a ton of accounts (if you were one…sorry), and sought out a delicious mix of new accounts that ended up being roughly 40% dogs, 30% music, 25% friends, and 5% travel. And since then, my Instagram feed brings me nothing but joy.

Now, it feels wrong to derive so much joy from a social community and not give any back. So I thought about how I could contribute consistent joy to someone else’s feed. And since I travel for a living, my phone is bursting with more than 3,000 stunning images of landscapes and nature around the world. Voila. My Instagram “purpose” is to feed the travel passions of others, and my sole use of hashtags is not for marketing star power or tracking…it’s so people with those passions can find travel inspiration through my posts. I don’t have a strategy for building my follower base, and I’m not tracking any ratios or stats. I just engage with Instagram for pleasure. OMG. I’M A REAL, NORMAL PERSON. It feels awesome.

If you want unvarnished, unfiltered, unmarketed, unbranded, and often jaw-dropping nature and landscape photos in YOUR Instagram feed, you should follow me at @chrismirandahere. Fair warning: I don’t market Redpoint’s clients (or anything), I’m not a travel photojournalist looking to build a brand, I’ll never have a sponsor, never do a giveaway, and unless you’re a golden retriever (like Barney, for example, who lives in Germany and has stolen my heart), I probably won’t follow you back.

Because I rekindled MY joy with social media. Marketers of the world…are you ready to rekindle yours? Try it. See what it feels like to not care how a post is performing. #magical #freedom #bliss