Six months (or six days) from now, maybe I’ll come update this topic with the latest trending topic. Because #TheDress, the latest distraction-of-the-moment, will feel utterly tired.
One reason that earning attention isn’t the same thing as earning business is that the Internet is prone to these little waves of irrelevance that hook everyone in for a few moments.
CMO.com did a nice job talking about who “won” the war for the attention created by the trending topic #TheDress.
And I don’t care. Not even a tiny bit. Here’s why.
Conversations about how giant brands leverage the “volume of social conversation” just document a pitiful attempt to strip-mine attention.
Which is fine if you’re a huge company with more money than you know what to do with, and no real business objectives you need to focus on.
Ethically, it probably beats frightening people with imagined inadequacies so you can sell them toothpaste.
CMO.com makes the case that Adobe “won” that particular round with a clever retweet that mentioned one of their products.
I think it’s perfectly great that Adobe has smart people on their social media team. I would kind of hope so. Adobe’s products fuel a huge chunk of the creatives on this planet, so you’d expect them to attract some clever, socially adept folks to pay attention to the Twitter stream.
And I think it’s kind of wonderful that it’s someone’s job to be smart about what to retweet, and get paid by Adobe for it. It’s one of those 21st century jobs like pot reviewer, or World of Warcraft gold farmer.
For the rest of us, for the thousands of small businesses where real economic growth comes from, guess what: This is a silly, trivial way to waste your time. You’d be better off playing Minecraft with your nine-year-old. At least that would relax you and let you have fun with your family.
If you’re not Adobe, here’s where to put your time instead
I know I’m being a killjoy here, but the reason I get cranky with these kinds of stunts is that they tend to turn off small business to the entire idea of social media marketing in the first place.
(They also encourage bad behavior like attaching a generic brand message to any trending topic — like the marketing automation company that tweeted an advertising message using the hashtag #Ferguson. This is a horrible thing to do. Do not do this.)
There actually are smart ways to spend your time on social, if you’re looking to attract clients or customers to a normal-sized business.
If you’re marketing a business, your first priority is to do something interesting that can be seen online.
Start a useful and interesting conversation, where people can find it.
That might look like:
- Video reviews and tutorials, delivered with heart, by the ultra nice folks at Goulet Pens
- Witty email messages from your favorite insane uncle, from the charmers at Nancy Boy
- Science-based skincare reviews from longtime cosmetic industry journalist and watchdog, Paula Begoun
- Simple, practical cleaning advice from the cheerful peeps at The Clean Team
These are small to mid-sized real businesses, not mega corporations. They need to make every marketing dollar work hard.
They don’t run “awareness” campaigns. They don’t have access to slick agencies to create award-winning advertising. They probably have a little more time than cash, but frankly, time is in pretty short supply, too.
But instead of “Crazy Eddie Used Car Guy” low-budget advertising that runs on the cheaper TV channels, today we have useful, interesting content, hand-crafted by real people with generous helpings of G.A.S.
If you want to tweet about the latest trending topic, there’s nothing wrong with that. It can be a really fun way to waste a little time.
But when you want to do some actual business, focus on producing more useful, interesting content that delights your prospects and customers.
Because that’s what works.
Could you use some help with that?
The whole “produce interesting content in a strategic way” thing is simple-sounding advice, but it’s not always easy to figure out how all the parts go together.
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Image from memegenerator.net