We Need to Humanize Social Media, Again

We Need to Humanize Social Media, Again

It seems the business world has finally figured out just how much they need social media. Not having a presence is almost as rare as lacking a website. Organizations in even the most “old school” of industries are asking you to find them on Twitter (ironic, now that twitter is considered a dying network).
With this growth comes challenges. Branded content is all too often over-scheduled, self-serving, and just plain boring. People are increasingly aware that their internet selves are—indeed—visible to the public, causing them to engage more privately online. Social media platforms are focusing more on their bottom lines, commoditizing and forcing brands to spend in order to be seen. All of this adds up to potentially big problems for those of us in the industry.

What social has become

Like a lot of marketing tactics before it, posting to social media has become more of a box to check than an opportunity to engage. Twice a day on Facebook, once on LinkedIn, a couple of times on Instagram, and three more for Twitter. Check. Done. Got it.

Even more challenging, people are engaging with fewer posts than ever before, afraid a connection may judge them for the content they like, or simply too burnt-out from the constant activity. The less people interact, the less your content travels.

And the platforms have reacted. With greater market share in mind, algorithms are cracking down making brand posts less visible, finally pushing back on the mounds of brands selling to their users. They’re also changing the way their platforms work, hoping to capture the attention span of every last user. The main takeaway? You need to pay to play, at least sometimes.

Keeping it real

There’s opportunity in all this change. After all, we’re the ones creating the content, right? We need to focus on things that people want to hear/see/feel (authentic imagery, captivating video, approachable voice, accessibility). Quit “promoting events.” Stop “pushing this out.” We should help ourselves by getting away from the idea of just “doing social,” (tweet this)  and rather be an ambassador of the brand on a number of outlets. Have some fun for a change and understand that social is a living, breathing platform that needs constant attention and adjustment. At the end of the day, what makes social media great is its ability to level the playing field and give all users an opportunity to be heard above the noise. People take part because it’s real, and our job is to keep their experience with brands as human as possible.