Social envy

Social envy


Our social media efforts might seem more like Anthony Michael Hall’s character in Sixteen Candles (1984), “The Geek,” than Porsche-driving “Jake Ryan.” The problem may not be how our social marketing is actually performing. Instead it might just not be living up to our own unrealistic expectations. Much like my unfulfilled high school desires to be the popular jock, have the sports car and everything else our hero, Jake, seemed to have, reality turned out to be quite different (pretty good, but quite different nonetheless). 

For our social media marketing we all want thousands of “highly engaged” fans, all constantly commenting about their interest in our brands, as proof of their deep-seated devotion to them. The consistent two-way “conversation” with engaged followers is after all what is promised to us as the holy grail of the medium. We are concerned when no one actually comments on our latest Facebook or blog post. Why aren’t they engaging with our brand?

As Simon Dumenco of Advertising Age points out, that just isn’t realistic:

“As for the 99% of humans who aren’t engaging with media and brands? Maybe it’s time we accept that they might not be engaging through social media because they choose not to. And, hey, that’s also OK. Or to put it another way, maybe passively consuming content is just the way that most people choose to engage.” (February 27, 2012)

So we shouldn’t be too concerned when we don’t get comments on what we say in social media, because most fans won’t no matter what we post. Instead we should be more concerned that we have a growing number of people just continuing to read what we post – even if the vast majority of them never truly engage with us in a social media discussion.

Reality check: Michael Schoeffling, the actor that played Jake Ryan was not an 18 year-old high school senior when the movie was released, he was 24. Also, he was not 6’ tall as he was shot to look. He is actually 5’8”.

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