People love to chase the next new thing. In terms of marketing and social media, this can get a bit overwhelming. Every week there is a new tool, new platform or new technology that marketing managers and those who work in social media are told WILL be the “game changer. Adapt or die.”
How many times a week do you get a message or email or text or worse – an auto-DM saying “Follow me on Twitter! Let’s connect on LinkedIn! Are we Facebook friends yet? Have you seen my Pinterest page? I saw that on Instagram!” Most recently, it has been “I’m Meerkatting (yes, it’s become a verb, while Periscoping hasn’t, probably because it sounds a bit creepy) come watch me cook dinner/sit in my room, answer any questions…”
Not sure if you suffer from Social Media SOS? Some of the symptoms look like this:
1. I’m going through my day, answering emails and doing what is right in front of me, when two co-workers walk by my desk laughing and talking. I can’t just sit here, I must find out what they find so funny!
2. I spend more time on social media looking down at my phone than I do with friends outside of my social media groups. I can’t be torn away – what if a new platform comes out?
3. I love my job. It’s fulfilling and there is room to grow. But let me take some time to check out Craigslist…maybe there’s something even better out there….
What are the motivations that fuel our wanting to be involved in everything? Here are a few that I believe feed into Shiny New Object Syndrome:
1. We all want to be early adopters. Does it make you feel “cool” or “more in the know” to find something before any of your friends? Do you like to be the one to introduce the next new thing to your group? That’s not always a bad thing. Branding-wise, it can give you an edge up on your competition to introduce something that hasn’t previously been seen or tried or thought of. In today’s world, where a brand’s timing is becoming increasingly more important than some of their strategies, early adoption may be the difference between a brand staying relevant and a brand that watches this new world passing them by.
2. FOMO. Many people are just not satisfied much of the time. “Keeping up with the Joneses” is so 1999, but FOMO really means the same thing. It’s the idea that everyone else is having more fun that I am, everyone else is part of something that I’m on the outside of….in one word? FOMO = jealousy. For brands, this is a huge opportunity and also a huge risk. The opportunity lies in how well you can foster feelings of FOMO within your community and the risk arises when people begin to eschew your brand as being too selective and exclusive (another word that can be both positive and negative for brands)
3. The oftentimes misplaced “celebrity” we place on “Influencers:” The word “influencer” has changed as of late. It used to mean someone that incites people to make a change. While it still means that in today’s social media landscape, it has also become a bit adulterated. Influencers have also begun to be people with lots of (for example) Twitter followers, that others engage with in hopes of being noticed by the “influencer” and mentioned by them, to grow their own follower number. I see many people not just suffering from Shiny New Object Syndrome, but having a full blown case of it. “I HAVE to be involved in (insert any shiny new object here) because (insert any social media ‘influencer’s’ name here) is doing it and if I talk about, they’ll talk about ME!" Not the ideal or clearest of motives. IMO, if you're doing anything to "become an influencer," #youredoingitwrong.
Once you get over the initial excitement of the latest shiny new object, it still goes back to marketing fundamentals. Is this really right for YOUR business? Not every new technology or social media platform is one size fits all. It’s generally not even one size fits most. “New” isn’t a synonym for “better.” While Social Media SOS might be a new buzzword, you still have to ask yourself the same questions you always have: How will this help my community? Will this move the needle and impact sales?
I am not suggesting you try to shy away from this completely. I also don’t suggest that you attempt to completely cure yourself of SOS. It can work to your advantage. If you don’t test each shiny new platform, technology piece or tool that comes out, how will you know what WILL work for you and your business? As marketers, it’s our job to be open to change and constantly adaptable. It’s our responsibility to try out, test and play with each potential game-changer, so we can add it to our arsenal when that pot of gold does arrive.
Do you have a case of Social Media SOS? Has it helped you find something that has grown your business? Or…has it divided your time into too many segments to actually be able to focus? Comment below and let me know!