Given all the bad news and bad actors we’re seeing pop-up on social lately, it’s fair of you to ask if social media is anti-social for your brand now. So, is it?
As with most things in life, it’s a bit complicated. While it’s true that there are plenty of people in social who seem like you might end up with a social disease, there’s also lots of ongoing opportunity to grow your brand and business.
How do you navigate this tricky situation? How do you use social to connect with content and customers in the current reality? How can you make social truly work for your business today? That’s what this episode of the Thinks Out Loud podcast is all about.
Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you.
Is Social Media Anti-Social for your Brand Now? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 391) Headlines and Show Notes
Show Notes and Links
- Meta/Facebook Financial Statement Q2 2023 PDF link
- Meta/Facebook Earnings Presentation PDF link
- Meta/Facebook Earnings Call Transcript PDF link
- Meta/Facebook Follow Up Call Transcript PDF link
- Snap (SNAP) Q2 2023 Earnings Call Transcript | The Motley Fool
- 4 Ways to Distribute Content on Social Media | 5-Minute Whiteboard – SparkToro
- Taylor Swift
- Big Tech Earnings and The State of Digital Q3 2023 (Thinks Out Loud Episode 390)
- What We Can Learn From Facebook’s Privacy Mess – Biznology
- Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft Have a Secret Plan Right Now. Here’s Why You Should Care (Thinks Out Loud Episode 286)
- Maybe Facebook’s Data Problem Is Your Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 203)
- How Will Facebook’s Data Scandal Impact Hotel Marketers?
- Facebook’s Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 202)
- Should Facebook Take the Place of Your Brand’s Website? – Tim Peter & Associates
- Partnerships Between Brands and Creators Will Define the Next Generation of Travel Marketing | HSMAI Americas
- Travel is the Business of People | HSMAI Global
- The Future of the Metaverse? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 363)
- A Far Too Quick Look at the Metaverse, web3, and the Future of Digital (Thinks Out Loud Episode 349)
- The Metaverse in Hospitality Marketing: Loren Gray Interview (Thinks Out Loud Episode 366)
- The Future is Already Here (Thinks Out Loud Episode 370)
- What Taylor Swift Can Teach You About Bypassing Gatekeepers (Thinks Out Loud Episode 393)
You might also enjoy this webinar I recently participated in with Miles Partnership that looked at "The Power of Generative AI and ChatGPT: What It Means for Tourism & Hospitality" here:
We have some free downloads for you to help you navigate the current situation, which you can find right here:
- A Modern Content Marketing Checklist. Want to ensure that each piece of content works for your business? Download our latest checklist to help put your content marketing to work for you.
- A Brief Introduction to Thinks Out Loud. As a bonus, we’ve also included this PDF document that highlights some of our core episodes to help you dig into what the show is about. We think it will help you capture the show’s essence while you’re working your way through the 300-plus episodes published so far. Download it here.
- Digital & E-commerce Maturity Matrix. As a bonus, here’s a PDF that can help you assess your company’s digital maturity. You can use this to better understand where your company excels and where its opportunities lie. And, of course, we’re here to help if you need it. The Digital & E-commerce Maturity Matrix rates your company’s effectiveness — Ad Hoc, Aware, Striving, Driving — in 6 key areas in digital today, including:
- Customer Focus
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Transcript: Is Social Media Anti-Social for your Brand Now?
Well hello again, everyone, and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital expertise, your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. This is episode 391 of The Big Show. And thank you so much for tuning in. I can’t believe we’re closing in on 400 episodes. I say this at the bottom of the show, at the end of the show a lot, that I wouldn’t do this without you.
And I really wouldn’t have done 390 episodes plus If you weren’t giving a listen, if you weren’t telling me what you think, if you weren’t engaged. So thank you so much for participating and making this a really strong community of folks that I get to engage with on a daily basis. So I really appreciate that.
That is actually somewhat relevant to the discussion today. Originally, when I started outlining this script when I started outlining this episode, It was going to just look at Facebook or Meta’s earnings, whatever you want to call the company these days, which to get that out of the way, they were great.
They had a fantastic quarter. At the same time, I’ve been getting a lot of bad news from leaders lately. Talking about how social media is troubling them, how they’re concerned about whether or not they want to be affiliated with some of these companies or have their brands associated with some of these companies or on some of these sites.
Led largely by the dumpster fire that is Elon Musk’s management of Twitter. For the record, by the way, I will stubbornly resist calling Twitter X. It’s a stupid name. I don’t know what’s going through that guy’s head, but for the love of God, it’s Twitter. The question I would ask though, is social media increasingly anti social towards business?
And right out of the way, I want to say, not exactly. You know, Twitter, the site itself, has been flooded with bad actors and bad content. They’re struggling to attract big brand advertisers, and I don’t blame a soul. Business or individual who chooses to stay away. I’d also say that that behavior seems mostly contained to Twitter.
Most of the other social networks have done a much better job on this, and I will come back to this a lot in a moment. The other unfriendly thing that we’re seeing with social, the other thing that makes us say, is social anti social towards business, is that social is getting more expensive. There is absolutely a "gatekeepers gonna gate" scenario here.
They have the traffic, and they’re going to charge you for it. Recent research that I just saw the other day, I will post a link to it in the show notes, from SparkToro, shows that items posted on social media that contain links Don’t get boosted by social algorithms. The same way as content that keeps people on the platform does.
Assuming, of course, they allow links at all. Snapchat and TikTok don’t. YouTube kind of doesn’t. So, sure, none of that can be called great news. At the same time, most of the major social players are doing a lot of work to clean up their houses. And in particular, I want to give kudos to Mark Zuckerberg and the Meta team here.
Full disclosure, I’ve done work for Meta in the past. I’m writing a research project a couple years ago on behalf of an industry association in partnership with Meta. It was low compensation work during the pandemic and I’ve been reading their, their quarterly earnings and they’ve definitely seen a shift in tone here.
I do want to point out I’ve been critical of Zuckerberg and his team for a long time because they consistently have treated their massive audience the way a toddler might drive a Ferrari. You know, I don’t think they’re ill intentioned. I do think they’re… Sometimes kind of dumb. However, they’ve definitely worked to reduce the reach of posts that are blown up because of so called rage clicks.
And at least publicly, they’re stating that they’ve open sourced their artificial intelligence tools, a llama, specifically to be safer and more secure. This was Mark Zuckerberg on their earnings call. He said safety and security, that’s a very important issue in AI. In open source software overall, we’ve just seen through the history here that open source software gets scrutinized more and therefore ends up being more secure and safer, and we think there’s a very good chance that that’s the likely outcome here.
This approach hasn’t always been their hallmark, so credit where due. They seem to finally be realizing that they were losing users to a bad overall product experience, and that is an incredibly healthy development. There’s also lots of innovation in social. Lots of AI work from meta. Again, this is from their earnings call.
Mark Zuckerberg said, AI is driving results across our monetization tools through our automated ads products. I’m going to skip ahead. We’ve also deployed MetaLattice, a new model architecture that learns to predict an ad’s performance across a variety of data sets and optimization goals. And we introduced AI Sandbox, a testing playground for generative
AI outcropping. Snap, formerly known as Snapchat, has this new thing called MyAI, which despite some growing pains, including some bad news in the last 24 hours about a glitch that was causing some weirdness, does look like a very cool, interesting tool. Channels on WhatsApp are really neat. And if I’m reading this right, looks a lot like Twitter or if you prefer Facebook’s Threads app built into WhatsApp.
You know, for all of Elon Musk’s talk about making Twitter the Everything app meta is much closer to delivering on that promise, and it’s already carried in the pockets of almost 4 billion people around the globe. So, you know, that’s something. Which, all of this leads to the question of how should senior leaders think about and address social media for the business?
How does this fit into your strategy, your marketing strategy, your digital strategy? Well, I think the news is good news here. I think the state of social is actually quite friendly. I don’t think it’s anti social at all. With the obvious gatekeeper’s going to gate situation. There’s tons of tools out there in terms of TikTok, or YouTube Shorts, or Instagram, or Facebook Reels, or Meta’s new Threads platform, or Discord.
They all have value, at least if they’re right for your brand. You know, when we talk about some of these tools, like Facebook Reels, Instagram Reels some of the things like YouTube Shorts, we know that they contribute to various algorithms for discovery. Again, I’m going to cite Zuckerberg in their recent earnings call.
Quote, Reels is a key part of this discovery engine. Reels plays exceed 200 billion per day across Facebook and Instagram. He also said the annual revenue run rate across our apps now exceeding 10 billion up from 3 billion last fall. So, A, They’re helping people get seen and B, customers seem to want to see that stuff.
You should look at these. You should have your team look at these. At least if they feel right to your brand. And we’re going to come about, come back to that in just a second. With any of these new tools. You always want to start with listening. The best advice I ever got about social is the same advice I used to get from my folks when I was a kid.
That you have two ears and one mouth, and you should use them in the same ratio. You should mostly be listening. You should talk only when you have something valuable to share. And valuable tends to be things that are, you know, funny, smart, insightful, that make you laugh. Your customers feel good that validate them within their peer group or their in group.
People share the information that makes them look good. If you’re not sure what to do at all, at least start with a defensive strategy. If you’re not sure about these tools, grab a handle for your business name and hold it while you figure out what to do. In terms of actually starting to think about where you want to go with these, I’m a big fan of the reverse mentoring approach and thinking in terms of who, not how.
There’s a reason why most social media managers are, you know, 25 years old. Technology and pop culture are hereditary. You get them from your kid. One of the reasons I’m the right messenger for this specific topic is that this is where I live in my day to day. I’m active on a number of social tools. I’m by no means native on sites like TikTok.
My social team for my business consists of people who work for me and a couple of reverse mentors who I mentor about leadership and then they teach me about how they and their friends use various social tools today. I mentioned a moment ago. There’s a reason why social media managers are 25. There’s a reason why their bosses are 34.
You know, in round numbers, right? You want these folks to bring different skills to the table. And I don’t mean to be ageist with any of this. Obviously, this is a stage, not age situation. There may be people who are 50, who are every bit as connected as somebody who’s 25, and there may be people who are 25, who are every bit as strategic as folks who’ve been around in business for a lot longer.
The point is, you want to put The emphasis on the people who have the best connection to what’s actually going on on these tools and then learn from them and provide them the larger context. The other thing you want to remember with any of these is that you’re trying to build community, not just short term gain.
This is all about how you grow a community that matters. And at least at the outset, scale and community may be antithetical. Scale itself is not terribly social. Think of the Dunbar number. Most people have 200 friends and family and fans and followers that they connect with in real life regularly. That number holds for social platforms.
And so growing this massive community may not be the simplest thing or the most desirable thing, at least at first. My very good friend Mark Schaefer has written a great book called Belonging to the Brand. And he shares in that three traits of a community. One, they have a connection to each other.
Two, they have a shared purpose, they have some larger purpose to which they all connect. And three, the community is relevant in their lives. If you look at those three traits, connection, shared purpose, relevance, that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a huge group. The biggest community I can recall Mark mentioning was somewhere around 70, 000 people, which, don’t misunderstand, that’s a big, big, big group.
To provide some broader context here, though, Facebook has over 202 million daily active users in the U. S. and Canada alone. That’s out of 2 billion daily active users globally. And they have over 3 billion daily active users across Meta’s entire family of apps, as they call them, things like Instagram and WhatsApp.
If those 202 billion daily active users belonged to just one community each of 70, 000 people on Facebook, They have over 3, 000 communities that would have to be supported. And of course, we know that most people belong to multiple communities of various sizes. For some additional context, the biggest Taylor Swift community on Reddit, I mean, Taylor Swift is as big as you can get right now.
And the biggest Taylor Swift community on Reddit has over 853, 000 members and is in the top 1% of all Reddit communities. So your community likely isn’t going to be that large. The other thing I would suggest is my sense is that these most active communities Aren’t communities in the sense of an active membership?
What do I mean by that? There is a very, very well known rule of 1%, 9%, 90% when it comes to social and digital more broadly. 1% of users create. 9% comment and 90% consume. Loads of research and my own experience strongly suggests that that’s the case across these very large communities. I completely agree with Mark’s views about community.
I’d also argue that most communities only consist at most of the creators and commenters. So maybe 10% of whatever number that is that you come across. That’s okay. You don’t want to confuse a large audience with an engaged audience. Both have values, and ideally you will have both, large and engaged. When in doubt, though, you want engaged over big for your business.
It’s not the size of your network. It’s who’s in it that matters. Engaged folks listen more. Engaged folks share more. Engaged folks buy more. Thank you. And engaged folks sell more, meaning they talk to their friends and family and fans and followers that help bring more people into the community and lead to more sales for you.
I’m going to give you a real world case study. I’m going to talk about my business for a second here. I don’t have a massive audience. 4, 000 to 4, 500 connections on LinkedIn and Twitter and listeners to this podcast. And I’m talking each, right? I’m But many of those are not followers. They’re legitimate connection.
Here’s a stat that may shock you. I get the majority of my business through referrals, through word of mouth. My business is built from the ground up on social. And when I say that, I mean that in the same sense as when I say social is people. It’s connecting with individuals that actually drives my business.
Yes, I rank in search. Yes, that generates leads, and those leads do turn into business. What’s also true is how many of those folks that start on search start their customer journey with my business. As consumers of content, they’re part of that 90% I outlined before. Then, usually after a while, they connect.
They subscribe to my emails, or they send me a LinkedIn connection invite, or they follow me on Twitter. It’s only then that they move from the 90% to the 9%, to commenting, to talking with me. And it’s after that that they turn into customers, or at least as often, given my B2B connections, introduce me to customers.
They realize how I can help people they know, their customers, their friends, and so on, and make the introduction. Does anyone find me in a search and then buy? Sure, all the time. But I haven’t run a successful business for more than a dozen years based solely on that behavior. Obviously, I’m in a B2B business with a high consideration purchase.
In B2B or low consideration, the split isn’t nearly going to be so extreme as I see with my business. My hotel and retail clients, for instance, get lots and lots and lots of business from search. But the basic premise holds. If you ignore the simplified framework I just described, search and social are part of an integrated strategy for connecting with customers throughout their journey.
And that’s true across all the myriad sorts of businesses I work with. Social is also a key part of my content marketing strategy, both for me and my customers. It’s what we learn from interactions on social that makes it into the content that goes on to my site or that my clients put on their sites.
It’s where you take ideas for a test drive. Some will crash. Sometimes, rarely, people will hate them. Far more common is that some ideas simply never take off. The world’s reaction is, meh. You ever notice how there’s no like, meh, thumbs up button on Facebook or LinkedIn or any of those other tools? Right?
Because… Nobody’s going to put a, put a comment on something that just doesn’t inspire them. That’s okay, by the way. We’re not necessarily into this solely for the clicks. This isn’t about clickbait or an attempt to be, you know, an attention monger. Part of the reason that social media is so anti social these days, and I mean this in the broader, you know, public sense, Is that folks have found that they, the best way to get clicks on their content is to piss people off.
The media part of social media is flooded with bots and bad actors chasing engagement by pissing in the pool. Do me a favor here, do the world a favor here, don’t be that guy. Instead, what I’m looking for is content that aligns with A, my business objectives. B, engagement goals, like subscribers and followers and leads.
And C, my personal values. And you can do the same with your business. What’s the kind of content that A, aligns with your business objectives. B, aligns with engagement goals that you care about that lead to business. And C, represents your brand value. That’s going to be true no matter what happens with social.
That’s going to be true consistently. You know, and your social media manager, your, your reverse mentor, whomever you’re working with, they can help you hip it up. They can help you make it more pop culture relevant. They can speak on your behalf, sometimes in a very authentic human way. I love, I love, my favorite, my favorite follow on Twitter is Slim Jim.
Slim Jim’s social media folks are hilarious. I want to point that they’re doing advanced stuff here. This is not 101. They’re very, very on brand because the brand itself is a little edgy and fully gets, Hey, we’re here to have a good time. It works really, really well, but it works not because they’re going for attention or just the clicks.
It works because they’re speaking just like their customers speak. They’re connected in a very real, very human way, which is what makes it truly social. Their social media isn’t anti social at all. It’s incredibly social because they talk like their customers. They act like their customers. They engage with their customers in a very, very human way.
And as such, they’re building a community that is really committed to their brand, which is leading them to have better business in the long run. So social media is not anti social. If you’re using it in a very human and very authentic way that aligns with your values and your goals in a very real way, there’s all kinds of innovation going on here.
There are all kinds of opportunities to use tools like YouTube Shorts or Instagram Reels or threads potentially or Discord to connect with your customer in a meaningful way. And if you want to connect with your customers in a meaningful way, if you want social to work for you, then the key is to be human yourself.
And then you’ll find that social media is not anti social even in the least. Now looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. I mentioned this may was going to be a long one, right? I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for this episode as well as an archive of all past episodes.
By going to tim peter.com/podcast. Again, that’s tim peter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 391. Don’t forget, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have. Think out loud, delivered to your favorite pod catcher every single week. You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, overcast, anywhere fine podcasts are found.
While you’re there, I would also very much appreciate it if you could provide a positive rating or review for the show. Ratings and reviews help new listeners find the podcast. They help new listeners understand what the show is all about. They help get the word out. They help us grow our community. They also mean the world to me.
So, thank you very, very much. I really appreciate you helping make Thinks Out Loud a better place for all of us involved. So I really do want to say thank you again. You can also find Thinks Out Loud on LinkedIn by going to linkedin. com slash Tim Peter Associates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle at TC Peter.
And as always, you can email me at podcast at timpeter. com. Again, that’s podcast at timpeter. com. Finally, I know I say this a lot. I say it pretty much every week. But I very much appreciate the fact that you listen. I would not do this show without you. It means so much to me that we can have a conversation and build this community together.
It means so much to me that you listen. It means so much to me that you comment. It means so much to me that you reach out to me on social. And I just love that we get to keep the dialogue going. So please, let’s keep the dialogue going. Keep your emails coming. Keep pinging me on LinkedIn. Keep pinging me on Twitter.
I love hearing from you and I love getting to chat with you about all of this every single week. With all of that said, I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week. I hope you have a great weekend, and I will look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please, be well, be safe, and as always, take care, everybody.
Show Closing and Credits
Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for this episode as well as an archive of all past episodes by going to timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that’s timpeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 390.
Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud
Don’t forget that you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, Overcast, anywhere fine podcasts are found.
Leave a Review for Thinks Out Loud
And while you’re there, I would also very much appreciate it if you could provide a positive rating or review for the show. Ratings and reviews help new listeners find the podcast. They help new listeners understand what the show’s all about. They help get the word out. They help us grow our community and they mean the world to me.
So thank you very much. I really appreciate you helping make Thinks Out Loud, a better place for all of us involved. So I really, really do want to say thank you again.
Thinks Out Loud on Social Media
You can also find Thinks Out Loud on LinkedIn by going to linkedin.com/timpeterassociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter. And as always, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, that’s email@example.com.
Finally, I know I say this every week, but I very much appreciate the fact that you listen. I would not do this show without you. No way, no how. It means so much to me that we can have a conversation and build this community together.
It means the world to me that you listen. It means the world to me that you comment. It means the world to me that you reach out to me on social. And I just love that we get to keep the dialogue going. So please, let’s keep the dialogue going. Keep your emails coming, keep pinging me on LinkedIn, keep pinging me on Twitter or X or whatever we’re calling it this week.
I love hearing from you. I love getting to chat with you about all of this every single week. With all of that said, I hope you have an amazing rest of your week. I hope that you have a wonderful weekend. And I will look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be well, be safe, and as always, take care, everybody.