Marketers, we’re doing it wrong.
As I watched my Twitter stream buzz past me the other day, this tweet by @jennita of SEOmoz caught my eye, and I couldn’t help but agree.
It irks me when people talk about using Social media solely for SEO purposes. That defeats the purpose of social all together.
— Jennifer Sable Lopez (@jennita) April 12, 2012
By “decoding” social media, viral content, and other primarily social or “organic” mediums, marketers are destroying authentic content. They attempt to artificially create what happens naturally; they’re using hammers to plant flowers.
Decoding Destroys Value
As soon as something natural is systematized, it loses its luster. If they could design a computer that spit out Beethoven-grade symphonies, would you listen? Would you buy its album? Do you think we’d be talking about that computer 200 years from now and how brilliant its music was?
Why are natural diamonds more expensive than synthetics? Does merely knowing that a diamond ring is synthetic make it less appealing to you? WHY IS THAT? There’s no visible difference. But no matter how you look at that synthetic diamond, you’re going to be looking for ways to say how much better a natural diamond would be. There’s just “something about natural diamonds”, right? That synthetic gem just doesn’t “feel” right.
Because it’s not natural. There’s no accomplishment in a synthetic diamond, no authenticity. It’s a copy. Derivative, unoriginal, uncreative.
Genius isn’t genius because of technical soundness and how well it matched someone else’s genius.Genius is genius because it’s original.
You’re never going to experience true success in marketing if you continue to focus on formulas. Don’t try to copy a viral video. Go work on creating something yourself.
Social Media Isn’t a “Magic Bullet”
Rand Fishkin talked about how easy it was to do marketing, SEO, and the like incorrectly, comparing them to band-aids to cover the inadequacies of a product in this post. Marketing is frequently seen as a “magic bullet” that launches you straight to millions of dollars if you can figure it out.
This is not what marketing is. Social media isn’t another “magic bullet” that will stick you with the elite if you can “just get it right.”
If you’re asking questions like “how can I get more customers?”, “How can I make a viral infographic?”, or “When’s the best time to share on Twitter?”, you’re on the wrong path already. You’re asking the wrong question.
Marketing isn’t deception. If you’re looking around trying to find out how to create a viral video, you’re asking the wrong question. Don’t try to make something viral, try to make something amazing. The viral part takes over after that.
You need to create something people want. Looking at marketing as a way to increase the appeal of a product is deception. Marketing is finding ways to show people your product, and letting the product take it from there. Shoehorning people into a purchase is stealing money.
Using Social Just for SEO
Manufacturing artificial signals of authenticity helps no one but you. How is incentivizing social shares or positive reviews any different than incentivizing links? They’re both seen as a sort of vote for the quality of a website.
I apologize if this rant has seemed excessively negative and, I guess I felt like it needed to be. Social media isn’t a puzzle to be solved.
So get away from models, idols and formulas. Get out and create something yourself. Don’t base yourself off others, just go create something you can be proud of, even if it’s only for the pride of having made something. If you’re happy with it, the viral stuff will take care of itself.