There's a trend in big brand advertising that we on the social media side are totally missing.
And it's huge.
And I'll get there in a second. But first humor me and put yourself in the shoes of one of the businesses hiring us -- hiring a Social Media Manager.
They usually do it because
they want to reach out to the community it's cheap and everyone else is doing it.
The decision process goes like this:
- I can hire a guy or gal to manage a free Facebook page for practically nothing
- All of my competitors are doing it -- so I can't not do it
- We might even go viral -- tens of millions of people will see our product -- the ultimate ROI!
Then they go about hiring a Social Media Manager with all the sterile efficiency of the Dewey Decimal System.
Do a search for Social Media Manager job openings and you'll find job requirements like this (Home Depot):
Ensure that campaigns are delivered on-time and within budget and that proper measurements are applied to determine the effectiveness of PR and Social spend and resource...
The problem here is that businesses think of Social Media Managers as mere managers -- as someone who can just "manage it".
... as someone who can bear the reporting requirements and deliver powerpoint presentations ...
... as someone who can demonstrate quantifiable metrics and the effect on the bottom line ...
As someone from whom they can squeeze the vital life essence.
Basically that dude from Office Space.
9 times out of 10 businesses will ask for someone with "excellent written and oral communication skills". But they'll never ask for someone with creativity or a demonstrated sense of humor.
Yes... a sense of humor.
Because being a social media manager isn't just a management job:
It's a creative one.
The lesson from Big Brand Advertising
I lived outside of America for four years, and in that period something amazing happened:
TV ads became awesome.
Nowadays, a lot of the ads I watch actually make me laugh.
And when a brand makes me laugh...well, that changes everything.
Because it's a fair exchange -- they get to show their product and I get to be entertained. And if the entertainment brings me enough joy, I'll actually change the way I think about their product.
Take the ads of Old Spice Guy or the Dollar Shave Club (If you haven't watched either of these, I highly suggest you put on a diaper and do so):
Or this pee-inducing laugh-fest:
I think this comment on the Dollar Shave Club video sums things up:
I feel you, Josh.
Since seeing the Old Spice ads, I personally haven't bought another brand. I think I decided unconsciously that any company that could "green light" a commercial like that must be worthy of my loyalty.
And after watching Dollar Shave Club's video, I almost thought about shaving again.
Sex Humor Sells
We respect those who make us laugh, or at the very least people who appreciate good humor.
Customers -- your fans -- appreciate companies who can see the funny qualities in a meme, and at the very least can share something that will brighten their day and add joy to their social media experience.
Marketing used to be about tricking your customer. Now it's about entertaining them.
Some businesses are starting to get it:
"The perfect candidate will be an Internet savvy person who loves infographics, memes and everything that makes the Interweb awesome."
Thanks, Avalon Bay. It's a step in the right direction.