–Joseph A. Federico, CEO of Anchors To Dusk Publishing & Media
Some say social media isn’t for them and others have a false and preconceived notion that by simply having a conversation about marketing, that said conversation would quickly degrade into one about advertising and dollar spend. Let me stop right there and say that is absolutely incorrect.
So, what is social media? Why are we fascinated — to the point of being obsessed — with accumulating likes, shares and pins? When and how did this start? And more importantly, where is it going?
We’re not going to dissect the story in its entirety…I’ll save that for a paid consultation or weekend retreat (Yes, I offer those, too…). But for now, I’ll gently dive right in and offer the abridged version.
You’ve heard of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. And by now, all these years later, who hasn’t? Facebook — one of the most popular social platforms to-date — started off as a “social” platform that was created to allow college students to communicate with one another, to share campus happenings and build virtual communities with the same cause.
It wasn’t until 2005 — around the time I dove head first into the publishing and marketing scene — that Zuckerberg and his crew had expanded the platform and began allowing the general population to reap its benefits. Wait, benefits? Yes. Facebook opened the floodgates and invited ordinary people to become more actively “social” and encouraged them to “peacock” …to show off and let their proverbial freak flags fly.
Sure, social media may have originally been created for/used to allow people to paint organic portraits of themselves or how perfect home life may have been, or even to allow loved ones to stay in touch…but that was just the beginning. The beast that we now know as social media today evolved at record speed. And most people still to this day, don’t know how to properly navigate through this landscape.
To be on social media is to have access to a special power, to be able to take control of your narrative, to tell the story that’s hidden deep inside of you on your own terms. It’s also up to you to tell the world about your business and how it’s owned and operated. It’s a gift.
Let’s go back even further than Facebook’s inception, and dissect an even more unforgiving platform called Friendster…and Hot Or Not before that. Those social arenas held the basic functionalities of the now-Facebook: Chat, Liking, Sharing…but on a much smaller scale.
Friendster allowed users to request and nurture virtual friendships with strangers across the country. I don’t believe it even had a blog or article section at the time or allowed for organic self-expression. It was a simple tool that allowed people to become “friends” with others, plain and simple.
Now Hot Or Not, that platform’s main objective was to get people to rate others’ looks and decide whether or not someone was attractive. Think of it as a platform where influencers gathered, but they weren’t selling products or signing-up to become brand ambassadors. Platform users were essentially selling themselves…for ratings. Think of Hot Or Not as the grandfather to modern dating applications, such as…well…the list is truly too long and boring to even mention.
Now that a number of years have gone by, we’re facing the dawning of a new age of social media. One of the first rules you have to follow is this: Organic content is now and forever will be king. Long gone are the days when a company would post a coupon, for instance, online and hope consumers would purchase their product or take advantage of said sale. The future is not in sales…it’s in how a brand makes a customer or client feel.
Which brings me to my next point… It’s time to integrate nostalgia marketing into every facet of your social media campaign. Think about how you felt when you purchased your own pack of gum with the allowance you saved up as a teenager. What kind of gum was it? What flavor? Where were you when you popped that first piece into your mouth? Who was around you?
See what I’m getting at? I’m attempting to evoke emotion and to set you up — the proverbial customer — to purchase a product. The landscape within the digital marketing world is changing due to the global pandemic. We want to be comforted and coddled and not to have to think about the detrimental news we see on our social platforms or hear about on television. We want to be happy and it’s up to large brands and corporations to deliver that to us. We deserve that much.
It will be interesting to see how social media will evolve in the next 5, 10, or 20 years and how society will adapt to an entirely new set of rules and regulations. I know that I, for one, am counting down the days.
(Article originally published in The Global Achievers, March 2021)