The 2016 Anti Social Media Marketing Manifesto

The Anti-Social-Media-Marketing Manifesto 2016

I don’t know about your world, but in my personal experience, the use of social media as a marketing gimmick seems to be on the wane. That is, as a private user of various social channels, I’m seeing fewer come-ons, fewer automatic direct messages to new followers, fewer follow-back promises, fewer reciprocal follow rings, and that sort of annoying broadcast brand propaganda.

But this is rampant in my own professional experience. Heck, a client recently said out loud, “Well, we’ll just get a million followers and then we’ll monetize it.”

Right. And we’ll just make a viral video while we’re at it.

I like unicorns, too. But, gimme a break, huh?

Henceforth, we shan’t seek ROI

Be they strong or weak ties, we will not commoditize our connections nor the communities in which we belong, not even the ones we sponsor.

Henceforth, we shall no longer belabor the vanity metrics

We connect with one another as humans based on common interests, mutual understanding, and support. And we do it solely for the unique value proposition of connecting.

We are social creatures. We do this for the sharing and the belonging. Not the sales leads. Not the quarterly reports. Not even the upsells or contract renewals.

In crasser terms, sure, we do it for the mutual benefit. We do it to curry favor. We do it to “nurture leads” and “groom prospects.”

Henceforth, we strive to eliminate clutter in social feeds

We are not merely attention merchants, thank you very much. We provide real value or we get the hell out of the way.

We are not here to watch ourselves type or to see ourselves get shares and likes. (Although, let’s not lie to each, we get a regular and potent high from social media: dopamine, opiods (as separate from dopamine), oxytocin and adrenaline.)

We are here for the signal, not the noise. We are not broadcasting static into the void. We are reaching for the spark of recognition, the face in the crowd, a shared moment of humanity.

And for that matter, we are not here to take advantage of people’s neurochemistry. We give people a place to belong, to fit in, to be heard, to be seen, and to be understood. God knows this world needs more bridge-builders and more community.

To be completely transparent, this sustained, organic approach pays off more in the long term than any slapdash, pay-per-follower, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am exploitation. (And, yes, in terms of ROI.)

Henceforth, we release social media guilt & FOMO

Life is too short. New, as-yet unproven social media platforms are like a cross-town bus: one comes along every ten minutes.

We don’t have to get on every one. We can’t!

We can’t be at every party, every event, every release, every live stream, every Twitter rant… Find a paper bag. Breathe into it. Inhale…………Exhale…………..Inhale………….Exhale…………..

It’s okay. We’re not actually missing that much. If it’s that important, we’ll be seeing it ad nauseum in memes for months. Until the next round of absurdity comes along.

Henceforth, we will cast aside memes & gimmicks

We do not shamelessly attempt to shoehorn our brand into every dank meme that comes along.

Just like we won’t use a Cheerio in honorarium of Prince.

We aren’t in it for the brand, but for the community

I realize what I’m saying all over this manifesto is a philosophical shift for many folks. We are growing community, not empire. As I wrote in my contribution to an “expert” round-up for Kubix Media,

Empires are top down and they crumble. Communities are enmeshed networks — resilient and resourceful.

Speaking of experts…

Henceforth, let’s just call ourselves professionals

And get on with the job at hand.

We’re not rockstars, gurus, queens, divas, pimps, playas, bad asses, ass kickers, chest beaters, masters, ninjas, or senseis. We’re just folks doing a complicated, intricate, and sensitive job.

We honor, respect, engage with and respond to our community

Even when we inevitably exceed Dunbar’s number.

The person or persons who do your social media daily should be getting to know names, faces, avatars, and handles. They develop a relationship with their more active followers. They get a feel for the audience.

That’s why “social media marketing” is best done in-house.

As issues arise, and they always do, in-house social teams who’ve developed a rapport with the community are better positioned and able to allay concerns and expedite a resolution. For examples of great social media marketing by corporate teams, see Zillow, Everything But The House, Southwest Airlines, and American Airlines. Also, my previous post about social media as customer service.

I’ll let Dr. Meg Wheatley take us out

Author, speaker, writer, gracious grandmother and organizational consultant Meg Wheatley, among many others, has long sown the seeds of practicing community.

Whatever the problem, community is the answer.

Here she writes on the power of community. Doesn’t mention ROI once, eh?

Turning to One Another

There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about.
Ask: “What’s possible?” not “What’s wrong?” Keep asking.
Notice what you care about. Assume that many others share your dreams.
Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters. Talk to people you know. Talk to people you don’t know. Talk to people you never talk to.
Be intrigued by the differences you hear. Expect to be surprised. Treasure curiosity more than certainty.
Invite in everybody who cares to work on what’s possible. Acknowledge that everyone is an expert about something. Know that creative solutions come from new connections.
Remember, you don’t fear people whose story you know. Real listening always brings people closer together.
Trust that meaningful conversations can change your world.
Rely on human goodness. Stay together.

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Suzanne Hoenig is a strategist and writer helping small businesses, nonprofits, and private practitioners craft their marketing copy, grow their online and offline community, and navigate the changing tides of social media and digital content marketing.
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