Social Media, Emphasis on Social
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”
Chances are, anyone who’s seen The Wizard of Oz, or even How I Met Your Mother, recognizes the above reference. The quote originates from that infamous scene in The Wizard of Oz in which, mid-tirade, the “great and powerful wizard” is exposed as simply an ordinary man with a penchant for the dramatic. The “wizard” immediately implores Dorothy and her assembled group to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” fruitlessly endeavoring to uphold the illusion of power and mystery that he had so carefully constructed.
This scene, in my mind, bears a remarkable resemblance to what’s taking place across social media platforms today. As the media landscape has shifted so dramatically over the last several years, social media has evolved from the trendy hobby of tech nuts and teenagers to a standard facet of any marketing campaign [click to tweet]. Companies that for years communicated one-sidedly with the public from lofted and removed standpoints are now being forced into the social sphere, and are attempting, much as the wizard did, to maintain their façade. Pay no attention to that man behind the keyboard!
Businesses are treating Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn merely as new places to push old messages, new amphitheaters around which to echo their sales pitch. In this, they betray their lack of comprehension that the key word in social media is social. People are utilizing social media to connect with other people, not advertisements.
Allowing glimpses of the human infrastructure behind a brand humanizes a company, making the brand more relatable, and allows them to blend more seamlessly and natively into the environments of the platforms. Platforms that were originally built for people, not companies. These actions also increase the likelihood of engagement. A person is far more likely to conduct a conversation with another person than with a trading platform or a hardware store.
So, how can brands venture out from behind the curtain? There are a few small changes that make a significant difference in this respect: using a headshot of the company’s founder or CEO as a profile picture instead of a logo; taking occasional breaks from the marketing script to discuss relevant news, interesting trends, or even personal anecdotes; and prioritizing active and thoughtful engagement with followers and fellow community members. In short, acting like genuine people who have interests and goals beyond relieving consumers of their hard-earned cash [click to tweet].
It’s well past time to relinquish the smoke and mirrors and accept that social media is all about the authentic person-to-person interaction. I guarantee that keeping this fact in mind will lead to increased engagement with valuable and involved consumers, not to mention a deeper understanding of the social arena as a whole.
We’re not in Kansas anymore.
Image courtesy of Pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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