Your content is like the polar vortex

by · January 30, 20145 comments

Writer’s note: It’s possible that this post is really cranky because I am cold…

Oh dear lord, has this been the wintriest winter ever, or what? It is wreaking havoc on most of the population of the US. Cancelled flights, schools closed, the Super Bowl on SATURDAY?!?! We have had not one, but TWO polar vortexes (what’s the plural of vortex anyway?!) and I cannot decide what’s worse, that I live and work in the coldest house in the world or that all of the social media marketing campaigns I am seeing right now have a lot in common with this very unfortunate winter weather phenomenon. Is you content like the polar vortex? Here’s a few ways to know…

It’s cold

Winter NightFor the one-millionth time, we have to stop being selling machines and start being humans. It feels like all of the social content I am seeing is cold, really cold, meaning it lacks any warmth or hints that human beings have created the content. Except P&G, you guys get a pass for warming up much of America with your Thank You, Mom campaign. This work alone has upped the interior temperature of my icebox home by 1.3 degrees. The rest of the world, seriously, let’s try to think about how our content might not only be helpful to people, but also create an emotional connection. When Nichole wrote last week about Holy Smokes content, she is spot on. Because, where there is smoke, there is fire and warmth!

The net, be human, or, better yet, a person. People are much more relatable than humans…

It’s un-relenting

Always about you, is it? I wrote earlier this year about the 80/20 rule and alas, my wish goes un-granted. Like this bitter, wicked winter, the amount of time brands are spending talking about themselves is truly un-relenting. Lighten up a bit, will you? Every post and update doesn’t HAVE to be promotional in nature. Let up every now and again. Maybe 80/20 is too hard. Gradually dip your toes into less about you and more about what I want. Try to go 70/30 next week, see how it goes. But there is no need to be so relentless with the constant brand promotion.

Be social. Try at least.

People LOVE to complain about it

You cannot talk to anyone right now (except those on the lower left coast, you guys are feeling pretty smug right now!) who is not complaining about this winter. Everyone I run into has issues with the cold and are complaining about it. Well, it’s more of a muffled sounding complaint since everyone is bundled up so much that only their eyeballs are exposed. Complaining or not, it doesn’t change jack squat, it is still cold. Similarly, people work really hard to avoid ads and conversely advertisers work even harder to make this more difficult. For example, the ads in the newsfeed got people really irritated. And a lot of people did a lot of complaining about it. The problem is they also clicked on it, which made it popular for brands to use and Facebook to sell. Technically, a polar vortex is a cyclone. And so, this non-stop cycle of ad placement makes people mad, but works; which increases their use and makes people even angrier and so on!

It’s like a cyclone of suck.

Everyone is over it

After a few weeks with temperatures stuck below freezing and parking lots doubling as skating rinks, people are so over it. For a good chunk of today’s content, people are caring less and less about what your brand has to say on social. Maybe it is because you only talk about you, maybe you are not responding to fans, either way, they are showing signs of being over it. Engagement rates are falling. Brands are having a harder time growing their social following. There is a lot of talk about content shock and we may be getting closer and closer to that dreaded content apocalypse.

It sound kind of bleak, as things tend to do in the dead of winter…but somewhere, there is a tulip that is getting ready to spring out of the frozen ground. And we will survive this polar vortex as we do all winters. With the hope of spring somewhere on the horizon, we can start planning our way out of this content deep freeze and start looking at ways to be warmer and more engaging so that we can get to know our customers better and help them through these super cold days.

Now someone find me a wool Snuggie!

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About Tracey Parsons

Tracey Parsons

Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.

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