Interning has started to become a requirement to supplement a resume in order to try and validate all the education qualifications you’ve meticulously listed and provide some evidence towards you not being completely incompetent. Social Media Marketing is something I haven’t very successfully been able to explain to people.
There really is a multitude of duties to perform, but the real stressor is time. There is an emphasis on thinking fast, and thinking relevant. If only of these can happen, then it’s pointless.
There are a lot of people, even companies, who don’t quite understand what this term means, and are quite reluctant to make any effort towards understanding it either.
The idea is simply to capture markets via social media. Well, essentially that’s what it is. But when we start uncovering the technical aspects of this, we start to see the rising complexity involved, much like it would be in any project. And we would need to be dealing within cultural expectations of the target audience, not of the general internet.
Once we’ve come to briefly understand what the different types of social media sites do, and the audience that it allows access to, it becomes more important to understand what content appeals to what user, and push specific content on dedicated platforms. But it’s not just simply about choosing what to post. This isn’t a field lead by prepubescent teenagers after all (but definitely is influenced heavily by them occasionally).
So, what goes on behind the scenes of a social media marketing agency? Turns out, quite a lot. As with any marketing opportunity, we must remember that we are only looking to target a particular audience. We don’t want the whole population, and at the same time, we seek to identify potential markets; areas or groups that show characteristics of our customers, but remain untapped due to financial, logistical, or other types of restrictions. Availability of choice is one such restriction. It isn’t a restriction for people, it’s one for brands. There are so many ways to get distracted, whether we want to or not, that appealing to anyone requires something eye-catching, and informative at the same time, most often.
The way I see it, an agency dealing in Social Media Marketing doesn’t just research, or analyze, they have the power to change user preferences. To make people want something, or to make them hate it. After all one’s opinion is easily influenced by the peer pressure of following the flow of social media. Whatever the public says, you better agree to it, otherwise you’ll be crucified.
Which is why, even though traditional marketing teaches us not to sell to people who aren’t potential or existing customers, we need to keep everyone invested in our offerings, so that even if our product was technically inferior, the popular public opinion would drive people like sheep to obtain our offering.
But then, the technically minded people, the ones who can see the truth won’t buy from you or even trust you. They’re a small number, sure, but they matter a lot. As loyal, sensible customers.
So, where do we draw the line?
Social media marketing isn’t easy, I’ve learnt. To target people online is very difficult. I, personally, never see any advertisements online. I have adblock on my phone and my laptop. And so do many others. But adblock doesn’t block the content we put out, because we don’t put out traditional advertisements. We post content that people would want to see, and share.
Traditionally, you would need to experiment. A lot. You would need to try different variables, in different permutations, and with differing frequency to even be able to approach what you set out to search for. But with marketing on social media, impressions are heavy. You cannot have random experiments and take your sweet time to check what works good. It becomes integral to observe and understand trends way before you plan anything. Time, really is what is lacking though. If there is something trending, then you need to capitalize on it. If you find out that the response to something has changed, you need to act accordingly. However, it is very much possible to set a trend yourself, and not just play catch-up.
The nature of social media marketing is such that it isn’t possible to saturate it to an extent we see other mediums saturated. Because people will always just counter act the saturation. You need to innovate in order to even remain in the game. This is because the internet is rapidly developing.
Social Media allows marketing to be done in unobtrusive ways and to really understand someone’s thinking pattern. It helps us see the subconscious rationale through analysis.
What may prove to be somewhat frustrating at times is that, quite often, the “why” part will not be very evident immediately or perhaps even for a considerable period of time. There is an urgency to determine the “what”, which prompts us to overlook the “why”, at least for the short term. What does make things easier though, is that the things that might make us questions “why”, do not arise often. The thinking process that follows people in groups becomes highly reflective of what the popular opinion is. Interestingly enough, the opposite also holds true.
At times, people tend to go against popular opinion for the sake of argument, and to stand out from. It ends up effectively creating three crowds: those who have one opinion, those who have the opposite opinion, and those who stand between them, not greatly influenced by either.
Another event is what is scientifically known as the quantum observer. And I notice this with myself the most. I do use several platforms, and browse through content and postings. I further observe how people react and read about their opinions. I seldom post mine, and over the course of several years, have started to lose having an opinion. There are millions of people who produce content. There are billions of people who consume content. And probably millions who are having discussions about it all. But there are also millions observing all this. People who either are confused about their opinions, scared, or uninteresting in participating. These people also consume content, but we may never understand them properly because their digital footprint is shallow and much less prominent. There’s a huge market here, and as social media marketers, it’s our job to engage them as well. Because we know that people are social animals and yearn to be acknowledged and to participate. Exceptions are of course there. It also appears very different from what you would expect. In the office, everyone has tabs of Facebook open. But that’s part of the job. You need to stay updated. And you need to update your work accordingly.
See? It’s not evil. It’s for a good cause. We’re not helping big corporations to be evil, and sit on a pile of money while deceiving users. We can’t. The nature of platforms allows users to communicate to each other and the world and expose such actions immediately.
But really, the opportunity to be part of something new, and relevant is what appeals the most. There is very little that we deal with that is traditional. No desk job with papers to be filed behind close cubicles. We’re way past that. And that’s why I’m interning for social media marketing. It’s not a little bit of everything, it’s a whole lot of everything that you need to train your mind to recognize, correct, observe, and change.
Although, this line of career does have its benefits, I suppose.