Hands in the air if you’ve gotten the sh*ts with social media marketing and “meaningful engagement” at some point!
There’s no doubt about it, marketing has evolved into an exhausting rollercoaster of some soul-crushing lows and some freakin’ fantastic highs. Social media is the core of most, if not all, modern business marketing strategies and we’re faced with complex algorithms and time-guzzling tactics that leave us pining for the days of “I’ll just leave this here” advertising.
I am one of many who started a business assuming that I’d just strategically place adverts and go get some work done – and wouldn’t that be nice! But the fact of the matter is, that style of advertising isn’t necessarily suited to a society that is now woven into an insane 1.74 billion websites.
It took a long while for the reality of this to dawn on me, despite people pretty much telling me this every day as I whined and complained my way through all the frustrations of social media marketing. Why can’t it just be simpler?
Because we are not simple.
The introduction of the internet truly has changed society. We’re no longer completely reliant on local services and retailers because we have access to the entire WORLD. As time has worn on, with all these choices available to us, we now make judgements about businesses and organisations based on how they appeal to us as individuals.
And with this crazy amount of competition, what consumers really want to know is, “I could have absolutely anyone in the world, so why should it be you?”
That’s why drop and run sales techniques aren’t as successful these days and why we find ourselves focussing on those two important words…
What is Meaningful Engagement?
Meaningful Engagement is a phrase commonly linked to the social media platform Facebook. Businesses were prone to creating a quick ad or sales pitch, posting it to their page, and patting themselves on the back for a job well done. Meanwhile, people’s social interactions were becoming lost amongst mass ads in their newsfeeds, completely contradicting the point of social media.
So, complex algorithms were created, and continue to be updated, to bring newsfeeds back to their roots – a place to share and engage.
Pages are now required to create posts that have the hallmarks of meaningful engagement. Posts that encourage conversation, spark interest, and … not advertise. If your post doesn’t meet the meaningful engagement criteria, it will vanish from newsfeeds. Simple as that.
It’s been a pretty tough and frustrating adjustment for both new and existing businesses – being heard, reaching the target audience, appearing in newsfeeds, and truly connecting.
But despite the algorithms and criteria of social media, the change in marketing tactic has really been led by society itself, to help them battle their way through an over-saturation of options to find the “needle in a haystack” that truly suits them.
How Meaningful Engagement Has Affected The Hard Sell
The temptation is always there to simply say, “I’M AMAZING! BUY THIS! YOU NEED THIS NOW!!!” but I’ve seen hackles galore go up (including my own) over those tactics, no matter how factual the pitch is.
The world has opened up and business has bled into the social realm causing a shift in consumer expectations. The focus is less on who is local or purported to be best and instead is heavily weighted towards who the consumer identifies with and likes. More of a heart-brain balance!
That shift has made business a PERSONAL thing.
I’m not saying that a hard sell tactic won’t work, I’m just saying it CAN work against you. When you’re in a personal world, strong sales tactics can be jarring and off-putting.
The consumer can sniff out a sneaky sales pitch, too, particularly when conversation gets a little pushy, so you will have to get creative (and patient) with your sales pitch when working it into meaningful engagement!
Engage with Personality in Business and Marketing
In my own business, I put a lot of time into mimicking others in hope of mirroring their success. Imagine my frustration and dismay when it didn’t work. Funnily enough, I didn’t even truly have an epiphany about it all, I just kind of snapped!
“That’s it. To hell with it all, I don’t even care anymore. If I’m going down, I’m gonna go down being me!”
So, I began to mix it up a bit. Serious business stuff is still in there, but I began posting pictures of myself working in ugly jumpers, did videos that were chilled and unedited, confessed to my desk being smothered in unicorns and other cute paraphernalia, and shared openly about my mental health journey.
In short – I was honest.
Suddenly, something clicked. I’m not claiming to be an overnight millionaire with all the answers – that’s not what all this ramble is about – but, suddenly, people were ENGAGING with me in my own posts and in business groups I’m a part of. They were relating and sharing their own stories with me, hearing about me, seeking me out, and liking my page.
And that’s a genuinely thrilling and clarifying moment!
I’m becoming known for my dodgy sense of humour and unashamed dorkiness and am enjoying social media marketing a million times more. I get to be me, and I get to engage with clients and community that identify with my own ethics and experiences!
Finding the Solution
No, I’m not saying the solution is to act like a git (and for the record, I’m a clown, not an idiot).
No, I’m not saying “Do as I say and you’ll be earning six figures!”.
I’m simply saying, the solution is to BE YOU. Your business is a part of you, so why try and turn it into something that goes completely against your grain? Consumers are seeking a genuine experience; they can tell when it’s not.
I’ll say the words I’ve been told and repeated many times:
“Social Media Marketing is a slow burn.”
And it totally is. But look at it like this – you aren’t just advertising; you’re actually creating your own COMMUNITY that shares and grows.
I think that’s pretty incredible.