I’ll be honest; going into social media marketing I had no idea what the average lesson would look like. How were you supposed to make a project about things like how many likes a tweet gets or how many comments a brand gets on an Instagram post? Some of it I felt would just be common sense. But I didn’t know how the success of social media marketing might translate into actual profits. Basically, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I thought “I guess it will be more interesting than my other marketing classes,” mostly because social media is something I’m familiar with, and when you use social media for long enough it’s impossible to avoid ads. I also had a negative mentality about brands and advertisements on social media. Whenever a brand would promote a post to get on my timeline, I would just end up blocking the account. Because of this, I had a rather negative outlook on the class in the beginning. I had no concept of posting content to promote a small business or promote the business without paying for placement. This is what I think I learned the most about in my time in this course.
The internet’s relationship with ads is complicated. The internet’s relationship with brands is even more complicated. How do you look past the fact that the person behind this account wants you to buy something? I don’t know that I know the answer to that question yet. When I worked at Aerie last year, we were encouraged to follow and engage with all brand accounts so that our followers might also see that content.
I followed the Aerie Instagram and found myself annoyed with the constant posting with no real direction or new content. I was constantly clicking through their story without caring about what I saw, and no deals or releases ever caught my eye. Even after I unfollowed the account and left the company, I still received their posts and ads in my suggested posts constantly. Looking back on it, I think after completing this course I understand a lot of their content more, and I realize now why it didn’t resonate with me.
The video I’ve linked here is a phenomenal promotional post from the perspective of a social media marketer. The video is extremely high quality and follows modern editing trends that showcase the companies product. The pieces that are chosen for the video are put together into outfits: this encourages consumers to not just buy one item, but to purchase entire outfits because they ‘look so good together’. The post is only two days old as of my writing this and has over eleven thousand likes and thirty comments. In these comments, the brand responds to questions with thorough and perfectly crafted answers, inviting the commenter to purchase items from the link in the biography of the profile. Having this link easily accessible encourages quick and easy purchases. Not only this, but the link isn’t just to the online shopping site for Aerie; it instead leads to a “like shop”. This shop is a mirror of the brand’s Instagram but has details and links about all products featured in posts. In hindsight, I think much of my annoyance with the brand’s account came from my personal word-of-mouth and personal experience with the brand, as now I find many of their posts to be pleasant and the clothes to be attractive. I don’t believe I am particularly in the brand’s target market either, with their ideal audience being young middle to high-class women. Without everything that social media marketing as a course taught me, I would not be able to make these insights about my own experiences and the account as a whole.
I suppose my question to others who have taken this course would be how they appraise the worth of brand accounts. Do you follow a brand’s account on Instagram because you like the way the products look? Do you follow a company on Twitter because you want to know when the next big release of the product will be, or do you want to enter in giveaways? Is there a financial and psychological benefit to NOT following accounts because that way you won’t be tempted to spend? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions necessarily. What I do know is that we are on a giant rock hurtling through space, and if looking at shoes or trading cards online is what makes you happy, your time is too precious to deprive yourself of that joy. Constantly analyzing how many accounts you follow versus how many follow you, or not following a brand because of something bad they did twenty years ago may have some worth, sure. But what has more worth is spending your free time enjoying life, because who knows how much of it you have left. Maybe that’s too morbid or naive, but I like enjoying things, especially if it’s for free.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”Eleanor Roosevelt