Just two days after a rough election night, I left my west coast bubble to travel down to Austin, Texas where I would speak on a panel - Social Media is Your Mission: Your Mission is Social Media at the National Arts Marketing Project conference. Check out the synopsis here.
The panel topic focused on the notion that "social media can no longer be an afterthought or isolated effort for arts marketers."
However, in the collective spirit of post-election blues (a shared sentiment between myself, the panel moderator, David Wyatt of Wyatt Brand, and panel speaker Alie Cline) we pre-game huddled as David proposed that we throw out the playbook and speak on social media marketing for organizations as it pertains to finding a social voice in times like these.
After the mind-numbing result of the November 8th election, how could we just go on to speak of social media marketing in a "business as usual way"? Could we possibly act as if there hadn't been a major shift in our country? Something that was on all of our minds? And, in such times, how does the voice of an organization sound without being divisive to its audience?
As we formulated a plan to approach this topic, I felt confident that we could prompt a meaningful conversation in a room full of arts marketers that would resonate with them. I hoped that we could help shape the way they think about how to find their organization's social media voice in changing times. But, that wasn't totally the case. After the announcement that we were throwing out the playbook in exchange for discussing things through the lens of the current political climate, I scanned the room for a glance of mostly jaw dropped faces. Did they really want to address this hot topic? Not so much.
We were able to quickly touch on what stance organizations took in their online presence in light of the election. It ranged from radio silence (saying absolutely nothing at all) to glossing over our current political reality with more superfluous posts. In general organizations were fairly unclear what to say. We waded through about 15 minutes of opinions from the panel and a few engaged audience members, then quickly resumed with the topic at hand; Social Media is Your Mission: Your Mission is Social Media.
As a panel, we followed the pulse of the audience and left our politically-bent topic agenda behind for the remainder of the session.
Overall, considering our last minute change, the session went well. We did scratch the surface on a difficult subject, perhaps got a few people thinking and guided a productive conversation with curious arts marketers. My hope is that participants gained a sense of importance for their future social media marketing efforts. Knowing, unquestionably, that they need to meet with their organizations as a whole and advocate for a solid strategy moving forward.
My takeaway from speaking on this panel is that there is still a lot of ambiguity on "how" to effectively market through social media; in politically challenging times or otherwise. Not only are folks hung up on ever-changing algorithms, they are somewhat reluctant to prioritize social media marketing in their organizations. It seems that there isn't the time, energy or budget allocated to this essential marketing tool.
A challenge, in my opinion, that needs to be faced by organizations and businesses at any level and with great importance to the delivery of the message.
As a social media strategist, consultant and manager, I help small-medium businesses, like yours, not only find your social media voice but prioritize it as a driving force in showcasing who you are.
Not just posting to day to day occurrences and promotions, but through exposing your core mission, reflecting your values and sharing that with your audience. By these means, your business can truly attract the individuals that align with you and what you stand for. The added priority is that any business is supremely consistent with this effort.
Social Media Marketing is not a job that your business can afford to toss off to the person already wearing three hats. It's not the job they can endow to someone's teenager who "really knows this stuff", it is - and forever more will be - the way that most of their audience will, initially, find out who you are and what you stand for. Period.
Users, followers and fans (your businesses audience) will seek you out ahead of time on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, Yelp and many more emerging platforms.
The important questions that businesses on ANY scale need to ask themselves are:
- When your audience seeks you out, what will they see?
- How will they engage with you?
- Will your content be interesting enough to resonate with who they are?
- How will you prioritize social media in your company?
Need help to navigate the landscape of a solid social media strategy? Let's connect! My aim is to relieve barriers to connecting with your audience. I do that by keeping my services affordable and very straight forward. Give it a try!