Social Media Can’t Save Your Soul (And Can’t Save Your Business Either)

At some point when digital technology was new and thrilling, the narrative was that social media was the ‘end all’ – it was the next big thing and it was going to save us all – or at least our businesses. We were told that ‘soon enough’ it would be the only aspect of marketing that truly mattered.  

People began writing articles, executives began saying, ‘We need to allocate more funds for social media!’ – without having a clue of what social media actually was, and then they waited… waited for all of their dreams to come true and their content to go viral because apparently that’s what always happens... If you have quality content, sooner or later it will go viral, right?  Your company will get famous, and the rest is history… 

That’s a nice story; but that’s what it is – a story. The reality is that great content doesn’t always equal viral content – and that’s okay. It’s not always about your HUGE number of followers or getting retweeted by Justin Timberlake… it’s about sharing consistent, targeted content with clear messaging that expresses who your company is and what you have to offer. Great content isn’t a sales pitch, it can be informative or entertaining or provoke action. And it works based on the foundation of your actual network– sure you can pay for followers, only to find that they’re from a different country and may actually be robots, but why would you want that ? The real value is when you begin with your own network. 

Social media is not a unicorn– it’s one of a variety of important marketing channels that companies and brands should tap into to communicate to their target audiences. Social is a tool that works within a greater marketing communications plan– that’s vital to understand. While we all wish social media, or the narrative of it, could grow our businesses infinitely, feed hungry children and mend our broken marriages, that’s the exception. Does that mean it’s not important? Absolutely, not. It’s vital to most organizations – but generally speaking, it develops alongside your business’s growth, not ahead of your business’s growth. 

Amy Greene