Every time you turn around it seems that Google, Facebook and every other social platform out there is changing the rules of how to interact with your friends, customers and followers. It can be frustrating for the marketer trying to get his message across in an increasingly noisy environment. Especially frustrating as it becomes more and more difficult to do so without paying a premium. As the novelty of social media wears off and usage continues to spread from the lead edge to the masses, it becomes much harder to break through with what you have to say. I should mention here, if you are still trying to say things and not trying to engage, the biggest marketing budget in the universe probably can’t help you.
You will hear people cry foul whenever a social media company releases their latest algorithm. It seems to us they are crowding out our super awesome content with lame, paid advertisements. This can certainly be true – but only partially. Remember those masses I mentioned earlier? That means a ton more content both paid and unpaid with which you need to compete (and it is growing exponentially). Couple that with waning novelty and dwindling attention spans and you become a tree falling alone in the forest before you can say “one hundred and forty characters”.
The thing about all this content flying around is that everyone is becoming more discerning about what they are going to engage with, so if you aren’t genuine, creating a space for interaction and connecting, then you are going to get real lonely, real fast. There are no shortcuts and concocting shallow interactions may get short-term gains, but won’t last in the long run. The only way is to create real connection, real engagement where you and your audience gain something. Therein lies the magic (and challenge) of effective social media marketing: you don’t talk at people, you open a two-way communication that they find as valuable as you do.
As for the evil algorithms? The reality is, they may be doing exactly what they were meant to do – filtering out all of the half hearted, insincere and sub-par content. If we are honest with ourselves, we have all created our share, and some of us still are. As with anything worth doing, keeping your content real; keeping it fresh, genuinely engaging and beneficial to your audience isn’t easy. It requires a selflessness that is almost counter-intuitive to the marketing process – but when you hit the right balance and the connection starts flowing, it will become clear that it is the only way to build true connection and engagement that will stand the test of time.
You can keep blaming the algorithms. You can pay lots of money to keep your posts in the front of the line. The reality is, the algorithms aren’t going to change to suit your whim and if your content isn’t real and valuable, all the money in the world won’t force people to spend precious time to look at it, let alone engage with you.