I know it’s been a full month since I last blogged.
I’ve been settling into a new job, in an agency that is doing really cool things for really BIG companies which, ironically, means I can’t talk about it here. But I will talk about my work soon, once I find some time in between learning the ropes and working like a Trojan.
So what has brought me back to the blog after weeks of inactivity, I hear you cry?
There’s been so many things I could have blogged about but, believe it or not, a humorous Twitter account has driven me back to the keyboard:
Brands Saying Bae
@BrandsSayingBae is one of the best things to hit the internet for us digital geeks in quite some time, amassing over 30,000 followers in less than 6 months. Not just because it’s humorous, but because it raises so many good questions about the future of Social Media Strategy, Content Marketing and Online Influence… basically a lot of the things I see myself doing for brands in my own 9-5.
From using slang (often incorrectly), to desperately trying to associate with new apps, online dating or hipster culture, this account calls out the brands and, a little cruelly, the Social Media Managers, in an effort to make them stop.
Brands Using Slang and Humour on Social Media
A backlash against corporations using slang was inevitable really. Brands started out being timid and shy around social channels they were too risk-averse to immerse themselves into.
Now the pendulum has swung the other way and many companies feel the pressure to be “more funny”, “more controversial” and “more down with the kids” than their competitors.
The problem isn’t in doing it per-se. For some brands a strategy of fast, direct, comedic posts works really well with their target market - such as the PaddyPower accounts which, despite their sometimes-too-close-to-the-bone tweets, normally hit their “lad culture” audience right between the eyes.
And sometimes a really quick-thinking, creative team, like those behind the South African Salvation Army Twitter Account, can take the recent Social Media phenomenon of #TheDress and use it superbly to gain traction for their Domestic Violence campaign, judging the timing, tone and audience so well, it became an overnight viral success.
The real problem with this uber-modern strategy comes when the language, tone and imagery just doesn’t quite fit with who you are, what you stand for, what you sell, or the value base of the people you’re hoping to convert to advocates of your brand.
If you don’t sell to teenagers, don’t talk like one.
Community Managers “On Fleek’
Now I feel for Community Managers, I really do. It’s hard work in this industry to keep on top of trends. Just this week I found myself Googling “on fleek” because, quite frankly, I’ve hit my 30s and I no longer converse with people who speak this language. But knowing what it means isn’t the same as knowing when to use it. Millennials (another term I hate) have an ever-evolving vernacular, but that doesn’t mean a brand should. Why?
- Well is it actually increasing your engagement?
- Or your sales?
- If you’re claiming it’s benefitting sentiment, can you prove it?
- Are you measuring that? You should be
These questions are important when deciding the online voice of your brand.
Otherwise you risk looking like you’re clutching at straws to connect with your audience, instead of confidently delivering a strategy you believe in.
Aside from the backlash from people that you’re trying too hard, a related issue here is something I’ve been Tweeting about lately that is driving me up the walls -
As big brands grow more confident online, the “alternative” brands and influencers become less so.
All the channels, brands and influencers I follow seem to be softening into sameness.
Like many other members of their audiences, I visit each one for something unique - be it the writing style, the content or the imagery. If every single person is going to post pictures of an all-white, clean desk with a MAC and a bunch of flowers, or a few key items meticulously spread out on a white fur rug, then obviously my social media channels are starting to merge into a melting pot of boredom.
I have to admit it’s turning me off. I’m unfollowing daily. And it must surely be having the same effect on others.
Blogs and online influencers used to be about offering an alternative to the glossy mainstream, challenging stereotypes of beauty, style, interiors and lifestyle. Now they seem to be reinforcing them.
So my advice to myself going forward - and anyone else who wants it - is to spend more time focussing on who YOU are and less time trying to be what everyone else is, or thinks is cool, or is trying to be.
Inevitably, if you judge the internal voice right, then the external voice will feel authentic and you will reach the people for whom it really resonates, because ultimately they are the only ones you will benefit from connecting with.
And, hopefully, none of us will end up on these parody accounts or cliché lists!
Until the next time friends (which I promise won’t be so long), I’m off to get to grips with my sexy new iPhone 6 that just arrived.
Because when you’re in your 30s, new tech just doesn’t come so easy… bae