Why Isn’t Social Media Marketing Getting Better?

Why isn't social media marketing getting better - The Anti-Social MediaA year ago, I challenged social media marketers to do better. And guess what?

Social media marketing is getting worse. Much, much worse.

We have more networks. More tools. More apps. There’s more noise, more ads, and less meaning. I can’t name a memorable social media campaign from 2011.

But the blame isn’t only marketers fault:

  • The social networks are failing us - Constant refreshes aren’t making our lives easier. Mindless games prevent real conversations. Sponsored stories are diluting the organic conversations we’re fostering. As soon as people figure out what role they want these networks to play, the network is changes.
  • Our mentors suck - Social media advice on blogs has gone from bland to useless. We share overly generic case studies, anecdotes, and near meaningless advice in an attempt to build our miserable personal brands and one man social media agencies. Where we used to get a nugget of advice, now we get a half-baked idea.
  • We’re failing our customers - Instead of monitoring, asking questions, and anticipating our customers’ needs and desires from social media, we post mindlessly as usual, click share, and call it quits.
  • We’re failing ourselves - We all have grand plans for social media. Planning and creating a great idea to start conversations is easy. But carrying out those conversations, every day, twenty-four hours a day, is grueling. It takes a dedicated team of psychopaths to make awesome social media happen.

When you break it down that way, it’s depressing.

But there’s a bright side.

We get the chance to make it better every day. We’re in charge of making more meaningful conversations. We control how we use each network, what messages we send, and what standards we hold ourselves to.

No matter how awful the messages and networks get, we’re still in control.

So stop making excuses. Stop pushing a ton of crap into Buffer that no one will read. Quit telling people to be passionate and get them to do their damn job. And stop being concerned with what people wear when all we see is their damn avatar.

There’s real work to be done on social media. Get off your ass and do it.

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13 Responses to “Why Isn’t Social Media Marketing Getting Better?”

  1. Adam Lasky February 27, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Completely agree Jay.

    “Quit telling people to be passionate.” If I had a nickel… This is literally the stupidest piece of advice I read over and over again: telling people to be passionate. I am passionate. That’s why I’m reading your guru blog in the first place. Tell me how to get it done and forego with the fluff already.

    • Jay February 27, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      Passion sucks. Hate has managed to pay my bills.

  2. Camilo Olea February 27, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    And thats why while snake oil salesmen scream they’re the best and babble away confusing clueless clients, I quietly do my work, accomplishing business objectives through Social Media.

    Eventually the market will be better educated, and they’ll go to the ones that have solid proof that they know what they are doing. :)

    • Jay February 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

      It must be nice to have optimism.

      • Camilo Olea February 27, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

        It is. Though I like to balance it out by going out and stealing candy from kids now and then.

  3. Jack Martin February 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    “Eventually the market will be better educated.” Camilo, I commend you for your optimism, but I’m not so sure.

    Jay is right. SO MUCH NOISE out there now. It’s pretty tough to sift through it all and hold on to the real conversations. But it’s possible.

    • Camilo Olea February 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      Jack, I agree, it’s mostly noise right now. But yeah, I’m pretty optimistic too. :)

    • Jay February 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

      There are real conversations that aren’t about my cat?

  4. Will February 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    I agree with this somewhat, but I think you’re looking at it through a very narrow point of view.

    Mentors don’t suck if the info is valuable to someone. While “Great ways to promote your brand on Facebook” might be boring to you and me, it’s not boring to the thousands of small business owners who are still trying to work out how best to use social media.

    Similarly, we’re failing our customers and ourselves? More and more businesses are finding creative ways to make social media work for them - I wouldn’t call that failing. I’m also seeing a whole lot of unique and original uses of social media, from social good stuff to mammoth campaigns by the bigger brands.

    Totally agree there’s a ton of below-average “experts” out there, but I think this article is a little harsh. Usually love your stuff though, so I get the whole tone you’re trying to set.

    • Jay February 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

      Show me something creative with social media these days. I have yet to be impressed with something in the past year.

  5. Susan Silver March 4, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    I think we are asking the wrong question.

    I wonder more about why Brands are so afraid to interact with customers.
    We used to praise the two-way dialogue, but I think companies are worried about the backlash. People online have been known to come out and destroy. So we end up with the same old one-way messages that aren’t as interesting as they could be.

    But, if you aren’t prepared for a mistake or two then you aren’t ready for social media.

    I think that is also why we get so much generic stuff. We are dealing with the fact that most people have no idea what we do on social media. So confuse them with some generic blah blah blah. Then sell them your $139 seminar that will tell them what to do.

    Sifting through the good and the bad is getting harder. There is just too much out there.

  6. kayin March 8, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    Jay your comments at 7:31 and 7:36 respectively are the funniest things I read all day. that’s it no comment about the post itself. I came here looking for social media marketing tips. Man oh man…the network is changes.

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