Welcome to World Social Media Day—a day created in 2010 by Mashable to celebrate how social media has connected people around the world. After all, because of social media, the general population is more informed of current events, more understanding of other opinions, and even better at communicating with people of different backgrounds!
That is what I wish I could say. But in 2020, “Happy World Social Media Day” actually translates to “Happy Hunger Games, Bitches.” There is not much fun being had online these days, but what is happening is far more important. And certainly not what anyone expected social media to look like a decade ago.
When Mark Zuckerberg first glued Facebook together from the broken fragments of FaceMash (which he stole from the Winklevoss twins btw) in 2004, he didn’t expect to create a social network that would facilitate over 1 billion users worldwide and become a key vertebrae in the backbone of modern e-commerce and digital advertising. All he wanted to do was rate babes of the Harvard campus on the basis of their looks. Because that’s normal, right?
But 15 years, dozens of platforms and billions of users later, social media has become arguably the most important segment of the internet and the most transformative movement since the New Testament. Thanks to Zuck and friends, the role of Social Media Manager became an integral part of every marketing team and I get the chance to write this.
I’m not here to expose everything clients ask or divulge the secret to creating viral content. So, if that’s why you’re here, you should keep reading because I worked hard on this and you’ve read this far so what do you have to lose, right?
These “confessions” aren’t scandalous or salacious. I wish! But rather, they are the essentials everyone needs to be responsible social media consumers and contributors.
There’s Nothing Fake About Fake News
Confused? Yeah, that’s the point. No matter how many times we’re told not to believe everything we read online, there are some headlines that just make it so darn hard! More than half of Americans say social media is one of their main news sources, and the other half are accomplished liars. Regardless of how open you are about your news consumption habits, we have all fallen victim to fake news at least once.
And there’s plenty of blame to go around: Much of the misleading content can be credited to creators not doing their due diligence before posting; while some simply circulate content without considering whether it’s factual or not.
As someone trusted to manage the social media reputation and relationships on behalf of brands, the best advice I can give you is to perform your due diligence, always question the veracity of content and pay attention to your bullshit detector—that little red light that starts going off in your head when you read or watch something that doesn’t sit quite right. Think to yourself:
- Is it sensational?
- Is it clickbait?
- Is it fact-checked?
- Is it from a credible source?
Will some stories likely slip by undetected? Yes. But I can promise you won’t be fooled again by stories about the government killing Avril Lavigne and replacing her with a clone named Melissa. Because I absolutely, definitely wasn’t.
When Burnout Hits, Don’t Delete Your Account
Social media burnout is real and something people are experiencing across the board. But stay calm and don’t delete your account, because it is notoriously difficult and a real pain. Instead, log out, delete the app from your phone, and take a breather.
There are two types of social media managers: The ones with the picture-perfect Instagram and tweets that land every time, and, the ones with virtually no personal presence online because they need a work/life balance. Both are valid and both are at the same risk of getting severely burnt out.
The simple joy of logging onto Twitter to see what is ~trending~ has been replaced with the dread of seeing what fresh hell 2020 is serving up for dinner. It’s exhausting and thus there is nothing wrong with saving your current thought to your drafts and trying to disconnect by taking a break and going for a walk.
It’s important to step back and regularly ask:
- Is this strategy still the most beneficial for the client?
- Is the client’s content suffering because of my personal burnout?
- Is the content we’re posting actually adding value to the conversation?
If you notice your mood declining, your anxiety spiking or you can’t stop picking your phone up every five minutes—taking a more significant break from the social space might be in order. Your content is at it’s best when you’re at your best, so take care of yourself and watch your content thrive!
Social Media is a Slow Burn
Fact: social media happens fast.
Fiction: planning a good social media strategy happens just as fast.
There is no magic formula to virality that I can offer. If I could, I would be a Kim K level brand influencer, living off of endorsement money from Sugarbear Hair Gummies and FlatTummy Tea. But planning thoughtful, engaging content takes time. A lot of time.
There are important discussions about brand standards, target audiences, audience segmentation, color pallets, fonts, content vertices, platforms, timing, voice, how your brand fits in with the current social climate, and even the occasional discussion about a discussion.
And that’s just the discovery phase.
You must look at execution from a granular level, and then develop quality content—which takes creativity and thoughtful execution. Then there’s the delivery of that content, understanding that in order for quality content to reach your audience effectively takes money and precision targeting. Making sure your audience interacts with that content takes time. And all of this takes a little bit of luck.
For those looking for the fast track to viral fame, that isn’t something a marketing team can guarantee. But, if you’re looking for a way to build a loyal audience with longevity and an appetite for your brand’s content, you’ve come to the right place.
Do you remember World Social Media Day? We talked about it in the first sentence. Yeah, that’s why we’re here. But this blog can be seen as a metaphor for the journey social media has taken over the last decade: It started out as one thing and after a long, sometimes rambling journey, it has morphed into something entirely different.
We speak in memes, flirt in likes, and broadcast social revolutions via Stories. Social media is not as innocent and carefree as it once was, but neither are it’s users. We are in a volatile adolescence and that makes it difficult to navigate and celebrate social media. But, as with most teenagers, it has done some incredible things in the past and holds limitless potential for the future.