I’m a marketer, but I personally do not engage on social media in the typical way that all of my peers, professional and personal, do. It’s a personal preference and it works for me.
I’ll put my hand up and say that I don’t personally engage on social media because it’s just downright exhausting. I spend eight to ten hours of my day in front of a screen working, which is a privilege that I’m honoured to have. I have no commute beyond the handful of footsteps between the bedroom and the office. It’s fantastic.
After a great day of productivity, the last thing I want to do is fire up multiple apps and get to “joining the community conversation”. No. And I’m certain that many people would prefer the simplicity of life without the like button, but they are just so invested in the allure of vanity, that they cannot pry themselves away from this trend of thinking.
The confusion of multiple apps and what content should go where, and what hashtags you should and should not use… it’s all too much even for the professional marketers, although you’ll never hear them admit it. Except me, because you’re here for the unabashed honesty and transparency that comes with the TILT Creative philosophy.
On social media, points get lost in “community engagement” which really just is a sea of lol’s and bickering. We talk about meaningful engagement online as though it’s a lot of people responding long form replies, putting forward their points that are fact-driven or based on experience, but in reality, social media engagement is hitting a like button, typing in a 👍🏼 emoji, or a one-liner designed to instigate war (such as, this is really racist/anti-female/offensive/etc). How is this supposed to drive meaningful engagement that sparks healthy debate?
Further to the app platform confusion and the lie that is social media engagement, you have to wade through an ocean of misinformation. I love when someone asks me how I keep in touch with the world’s affairs if I don’t have social media; it’s because I still read the news, but from sources that I can trust to fact-check before publishing. The 24 hour news cycle that’s fuelled by the internet media publishing habits has created an entire industry of misinformed “journalists” who publish something because another media outlet has published it and they don’t have want to be left out of that news cycle.
This is the virus that is misinformation: one news outlet publishes the wrong information, and five others copy it. Days later, the misinformed source contacts the original journalist after the misinformation shockwave in the media and corrects or backtracks their original statement. Now you have a journalist who submitted without due diligence, an editor who approved the piece without additional due diligence because of trust, and five other news outlets under fire because a group of internet “journalists” copied from a news agency that didn’t double check. This misinformation has now spread like wildfire across the media, and millions of people are talking about it and sharing it because “it’s on the telly/social media so it must be true!” But it’s not. And the original news agency can’t now backtrack it because it will make them look incompetent, which they obviously are but they can’t admit it. So this misinformation just floats around, parading as fact, and everyone believes it.
Social media isn’t a bad thing, at all. I’d argue it’s one of the best things to happen to communication since the invention of the telephone, since it’s really connected the world. And yes, it does have it’s downsides but that’s not the technology’s fault – that’s ours, and our inability to control our own word vomit from the “anonymity” of a screen and keyboard.
Grow your own garden, first
I have many opinions, as you are aware because I have not one but two active websites dedicated to them. If I had to invest my time and effort, would I want to grow my own garden, or someone else’s, especially if that person is already a billionaire? It literally comes down to that. As a marketer, I completely understand the purpose of social media and the power that the content churn can have, but I know for a fact that when the platforms decide to take a stand that you aren’t comfortable with, all of the effort that you have put into it, is wasted.
This is why I’m always so website/blog/article centric in my strategies, because it’s one home base that you control, and you have all of this vibrant content hosted here first, so you can look back on it in five or ten years and think, “golly, I’ve been publishing three times a week for five years and have published 780 articles!” To further compound that incredible feeling, if those articles are on average 600 words, that’s 468,000 words! You’ve written nearly 6 80k word books… SIX BOOKS in five years, without doing any of the extra work.
The light at the end of the tunnel
It’s not all doom and gloom. If you’re here to find out how to actually market in this chaos, fire and brimstone, you’re in the right place.
It starts with a plan. Figure out what hills you want to die on, what you want to stand for. Make a list and refine that list a little and reduce it to about five things; you can also bring it down to three, but I like the slightly broader variance five can give you. Now you have your base for a content plan. Grab a calendar or spreadsheet and aim to write something three times a week, cycling through each one of these core ideas that you just listed. Maybe you’ll decide you’re publishing on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, or every three days for more variance. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re publishing three times a week. And trust me this is a magic number that you need to keep consistent for the next five years.
If you publish this on your blog, which I’m HIGHLY recommending, then you’ll be able to export these in a few years into a more comprehensive novel or white paper or something that you can give away to your clients and potential clients. This is the result of the madness of consistent publishing. If you’re only pushing small, unrefined ideas on social media, it’s impossible to export five years of just random posts and thoughts into a tangible manuscript draft for an editor (like meeeee) to sift thought and refine.
So you’ve published on your blog, now what?! Well, you grab something like Buffer or Hootsuite and you share the absolute shit out of those articles, driving that wonderful traffic back to your website. You can also manually share them, as you would if you were organically posting on those platforms except this time you have an in-depth piece that has meat on its bones. Or if you want to be fancy, you can hire a designer to whip up a few graphics with quotes from your articles to share on your socials, because you’re fancy now.
Grow your own garden first, then help the billionaires.