I was called out on my social media BS and I’m relieved

social media bs

By Mandy Edwards, {grow} Community Member

Mark Schaefer called me out on my social media BS … and I am really happy about it. Seriously.

Let me explain why.

Recently I wrote a post about ways to keep your fans and customers happy. At first I thought, “dang, this is a great post!” so I sent it to Mark for a guest contribution consideration. 

Well, I got a very kind but honest email back pointing out everything wrong with that post. Basically he said the “expert” advice I was giving was impractical and wrong. And you know what? He was absolutely right. The post was pure bullcrap because I wasn’t writing for my audience – I was writing for other social media pros, telling them what I thought they wanted to hear.

Serving the echo chamber

Remember when you were a child or teen and your parents accused you of hearing only what you wanted to hear? I see that people in the social media marketing business do that too, mainly to validate that we know what we’re doing. 

Who honestly cares about four more ways to keep your fans happy? Business owners already know how to keep their customers happy. Quality content on Facebook won’t keep the Facebook fans happy. Funny tweets won’t keep their Twitter fans happy. Providing great value, super service, and kind attention keep customers happy, not a blog post.

Sure, I could also write about 10 ways to get more Facebook engagement, but who wants to read that? I mean, just Google it and you can find your answer from about 500 other people.

 It seems when I sit down to write anymore, I’m a captive in the social media echo chamber. I’m putting out the same topics everyone else is writing about but trying to make it sound like my own and adding my own twist.

Breaking through the social media BS 

From now on, here is the filter I need to use to start writing blog posts that mean something: Am I, as a marketing professional, writing for other social media people, or am I writing for those actively seeking our help?

Let’s be honest. Most of the blog posts I have been writing are seeking to impress other social media pros and flex those “I know it all” muscles. I know I’m not alone in this. Look at some of the top posts on Social Media Today or Business 2 Community. Hell, check out Social Media Examiner while you’re at it. We are writing what other social media pros want to hear, not what our potential clients or that local business owner wants to hear.

I’m determined to break out of the social media BS bubble. I’m tired of reinventing the wheel (or topic) over and over, and here is my plan of action:

1. Keep it real.

I have a post in my Google Drive called “Writing from the Heart.” I have a personal blog that I haven’t posted on yet, despite the site being ready, and this is the first post for it. What I wrote about was writing from my true experience — what’s on my mind, what matters to me as a business owner. That’s the kind of post I need to publish.

Until then, I pledge to do my best to keep it real. Be more of myself, pushing beyond the level I did this past year. I may write about who’s doing a great job with their digital marketing or someone who’s not and provide pointers to improve. 

2. Forget the status quo.

I sense that all these social media pros feel like they need to one-up the next social media pro. (You know it’s true. You’re probably shaking your head right now.) We put out a longer post with more stats. We see how many times we can name-drop in an article. We want to show the world we know more than the others.

We need to forget the status quo and start writing again for customers. Our clients aren’t other social media pros, they are business owners. So why aren’t we writing for them? Forget the other social media people out there and focus on writing about real problems.  

3. Focus on truth.

I lost my way because I was focusing on the politics of social media instead of truth, real business issues and real business answers. I am going to ask my clients what their most pressing questions are., find out what they really want to know and help them through my writing.  

Is it time for your wake-up call? Do you need to take an unabashed and honest look at who are writing for? If it’s not your current or potential clients, then something needs to change. Now. 

Don’t worry – that fluffy post Mark rejected won’t ever see the light of day. I’ll save it to look at when I need a reminder of what I really need to do for my customers!

I’m fighting through the social media BS. Who’s with me?

mandy edwardsMandy Edwards is the owner of ME Marketing Services, providing social media consulting services. Follow her on her blogTwitter and Facebook.

Top illustration courtesy of Flickr CC and Missy

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