Social Media For Fun and Profit

This just in…apparently the reason everyone posts on Facebook, tweets from their smart phone, writes a blog, checks in on foursquare, pins recipe’s on Pintrest and watches video on You Tube is because…wait for it –  it’s FUN!

Don’t take my word for it. This has been proven in a study by the market research firm Penn Schoen Berland for the Hollywood Reporter.

Fully 88% of the participants in the study viewed Social Media platforms as just another – albeit new – form of entertainment. The sample was based on a demo of 13-49 so its pretty comprehensive. While there are variations in how each segment of that demo views and uses Social Media (after all, a 13-year-old shares few of the same traits of a 49-year-old) – the end result is that social Media is yet another pleasant form of diversion.

Personally, I have been preaching this mantra for years. However, it is nice to finally have some data to back this up.

For marketers it points out a not-so-startling fact – customers are NOT hanging out on Facebook or following tweets with the express purpose of interacting, engaging or joining a community that is associated with any business. Unless, of course, that business happens to be in the entertainment industry or deals with something that people are personally passionate about. We see great Social Media involvement when it comes to movies, music, cars, food, shopping, fashion or nerve-touching causes. Not so much when it comes to carpet cleaning, lawyers, tires or plumbing.

Entertainment is all about emotion. Be it comedy or drama – it is the emotional connection the content makes with the audience that creates (and completes) a relationship. If this study is to be believed, people are using Social Media as a diversion from their daily routine. This is something they do to connect with people they have an emotional connection with or to find something that will amuse them.

Yes, this is an oversimplification of the psychological need fulfillment that Social Media provides. But, we do not have to dig too deeply into the human psyche to see why the entertainment value of Social Media is so important to marketers.

Entertainment is all about “what’s in it for me.” Think of your own Social Media habits. Are you spending your time on Facebook looking for brands to connect with? Do you think the “general public” is any different?

So, how do you use this to become a better Social Media marketer?

First and foremost – be interesting! Provide something about your business, charity or brand that will get people to react in some sort of emotional way. Make them laugh, make them cry, make them think, surprise them, tell them something they did not know, reveal a hidden truth. The tactical application of creating an emotional reaction is part of the creative process. There is no one-size-fits-all here. It is the end-game you are searching for. There is an old adage for performers – love me, hate me but don’t ignore me. Indifference kills and the best way to create an audience is to strike an emotional chord with them.

Second, be wary of humor. Being funny is a hard. There is nothing worse than humor that falls flat. All too often, marketers think that “fun” means “funny”. They are two different emotions.

Third, be real. Social Media is about conversations. Truncated though they may be, anyone that reads your post or your tweet (or this blog) reads it alone. While you may be broadcasting that message to millions it is being read by individuals. There is a difference between having a conversation and giving a speech.

Striking an emotional chord with someone is damn hard. It is even more difficult when you are attempting to forge a human connection while masquerading as a “brand”. That is why you have to view your Social Media interactions in human terms.

Entertainment is a messy business that is built upon expectations. And those expectations are set even before your fans meet you. If you don’t “have them at hello” you will rarely get a second chance to impress them. Make sure your content passes the “who cares” test. Deliver emotion eliciting content on a regular basis. you don’t have to do it 100% of the time. Just often enough to create the feeling that you are worth my time.

In the end it is not about engagement or conversations or community building. It is about being remembered.

Your thoughts?

Steve Allan,

Social Media specialist


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About Steve Allan

I am a Social Media specialist uniquely focused on the management, messaging and marketing of social media platforms for non-profits and small businesses.
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One Response to Social Media For Fun and Profit

  1. Pingback: Life, Interrupted: Posting Your Cancer on Facebook |

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