Off The Market

A growing topic that seems to be on everybody’s lips, these days, is social media marketing.

For those who are still living in 2003, better known as the dark ages, social media marketing is the way that businesses try to leverage attention and sales by using existing social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linked In, etc. In a sense, it takes grassroots marketing to its most desperate and onerous extreme.

Why? Because if you believe the hype, you know that without a solid, on-going social media marketing campaign, you might as well be selling dust devil droppings out of coffee tin on a dirt road somewhere southeast of Deming, New Mexico. The logical conclusion, therefore, is that with the aforementioned campaign you can sell almost anything, even those caffeinated nugatory nuggets, with or without the tin can.

Or so the experts would like us to believe.

Stock is piling up. Better come up with a plan...
Stock is piling up. Better come up with a plan…

The simple truth is, the experts are not always right, especially when it comes to “endless content.” All the time and effort that goes in to updating, reformatting and tweeting information out into the void is pointless if A) your product is excrement and B) your content is about as scintillating as a late night infomercial on cable for dripless adult diapers.

I know I don’t have to tell you that there are a plethora of social marketers out there who hammer the web incessantly to promote the latest and greatest gadget, item or medical breakthrough guaranteed to revolutionize the way you conduct your day-to-day life and enhance your social standing exponentially. Just knowing that I can have my penis enlarged, while improving my credit score and watching my favorite movie on Netflix streaming is… well… confounding.

Still, you know that when it comes right down to it, crap is crap and one man’s gold-plated thingamabob is another’s overpriced whatzit. A snake oil salesman is a snake oil salesman, no matter what platform he’s using to hawk his wares and just because you inundate me with your marketing, doesn’t mean I need whatever it is you’re selling. I will never need to hear drafty droppings rattling around in a tin can. Ever.

Are those..? Ew!
Are those..? Ew!

There’s not much you can do about a bad product, except maybe rethink your business goals, whereas a great marketing campaign is an area you have a lot of control over.

It’s a good thing, too, because according to a recent study conducted by Small Business Trends, over ninety percent of small businesses are dedicating time to networking online and over seventy-eight percent believe that using social networks is just as important as networking in person.

If that’s true, you’d better dust off the old imagination, or find somebody whose creativity hasn’t been stunted by too many hours spent staring at his or her telephone. Good marketing campaigns don’t just happen. They’re still a rarity and widely prized by those who understand that dynamic and entertaining writing and visuals are key.

Here’s another thing to consider. Just because you’ve got a great product doesn’t mean that what you’re saying, sixteen tweets a day and 70 Facebook postings a month, is what your audience wants to hear.

It’s not enough to keep shoving your product into people’s faces, because, let’s face it, you’re up against some fierce competition. Most people’s feeds are cluttered with pictures of pets, babies, culinary embarrassments and George Takei.

Your coffee-scented wind widgets don’t really stand a chance, unless you remember the three factors that make for great social media content:

Keep it informative – Dust devil droppings may not be sexy and some may feel they’re downright disgusting, but are there applications that can be shared with your potential customers? Think about it. It’s not enough to get people to buy your product, you’ve got to show them what they would get out of the experience. Did you know you could use dust devil droppings to remove baked in armpit stains? No, I did not! Click!

Keep it entertaining – Most people are online because their lives are boring. They want desperately to be entertained and to find something that they can send to their friends in the hopes of entertaining them and, in the process, make themselves appear wittier than they actually are. A short video of a mouse juggling your droppings will probably get a lot more hits and shares than the standard sales pitch, “Get dung here!”

Keep it classy – Contrary to what you might believe, quality is still a consideration in the minds of many consumers. Blasting out expletives might be fine if what you’re selling is rudeness or the latest edition of the Urban Dictionary, but if it’s the high-end world of exotic whirling wingding leavings, you’d better know how to polish your words to a high-intensity shine that will dazzle your customers with brilliance; politely and inoffensively.


Remember, unless you’ve been trained on Madison Avenue or have the innate sensibilities of a Dorothy Parker, an Oscar Wilde or a George Takei, you’re probably not going to be able to come up with a pithy post every single day. If this is the case, opt for quality over quantity. Forget what the experts say about the importance of endless content and give the rest of us a break.

Only post when you have something of worth to say. Inform me. Entertain me. Enchant me with your cleverness. That will go a long way towards making me take an interest in what you’re trying to sell, whether I need it or not.

And who knows, I might even tell my friends about your java-scented meadow muffins. With or without the tin can.

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