Is Social Media Rubbish?


People who are yet to become part of this new fangled social media thing often suggest that Twitter and Facebook are full of “rubbish”.

Yes, there are a few pictures of freshly baked cup cakes and newly cut lawns, a few posts about “just going to bed” or “mmm, which cereal for breakfast this fine morning…”

But we’re not here to diss the folks who are proud of their domestic achievements, or haven’t yet realised that porridge is always the best breakfast cereal.

No, that’s the world of domestic social media. Business social media is another thing altogether. It’s easy to confuse the two and it’s something we often find among brands who’ve yet to harness the power of social media to help their business.

Yes, you can “chat” as a brand and generate an audience (and a potential customer base) by simply being on their wavelength. But within that, you need targets and, crucially, activity.

The ability for the average person on the street to actively talk to, or engage with, your brand via social media is the key most significant change in the entire media world in recent years. In fact, it’s part of the reason why traditional advertising is struggling.

In the traditional advertising model, the viewer (television) or reader (print) or listener (radio) is passive. They sit there and either take your message in or not. There’s no interaction and nothing is required of the recipient. According to traditional media advertising managers, this is fine. They talk about brain waves. As we sit back and relax, watching TV or reading a magazine on the sofa, our brain waves are apparently at a frequency where we’re most receptive. Hence, when we see an advert, the seed is sown. Weeks or months later, we’ll go out and the seed will come to fruition, the so-called “light bulb moment” when we reach for the product we saw in that initial advert.

Vivid is expert in many fields, but understanding the innermost workings of the human brain is not one of our topics. Those ad managers may have had a point, they may not. And we’re big supporters of print publications, so we’re not here, either, to diss the idea of traditional advertising.

What we know is this: there’s a seed-sowing moment that many companies are missing out on, and it happens not when Joe Bloggs leans backwards towards the cushions on the sofa. It’s when he leans in towards his tablet, phone or computer screen. It’s when Joe Bloggs clicks on an interesting link you’ve posted on Facebook or Twitter. It’s when he comments on a Facebook picture you’ve posted, or Likes it, or even better Shares it with his hundreds of friends. Put simply, it’s when he makes a decision to actively engage with your brand. (This, by the way, is when his brain waves are zinging away at a rate that traditional advertising managers would shake their heads at.)

Real brand loyalty starts with that initial click. Companies are just throwing away potential custom if they don’t run social media platforms.

It can be time-consuming. It needs strategic thinking and an intelligent, controlled output. It’s easy to let it suck you in, ironically, to the detriment of the rest of your business. But when one of your followers eventually reaches for your product on the shelf, or clicks on your product online, over the product of a brand that hasn’t bothered to do any social media, then all those posts will be worth it. And that, definitely, is not "rubbish".