Social media: the perfect training ground for marketers

Let’s start that again. Social media should be the perfect training ground for marketers. Or at any rate for people involved in coming up with marketing messages: copywriters, PR people types, creatives et al.


Because it’s based around getting across your point in a few words. What good marketing is all about. Getting people’s attention, generating interest and desire for your product and getting them to take action (i.e. buy it).

Take Twitter. Your maximum allowable tweet is limited to just 280 characters (formerly a measly 140 characters). Yes, you can (and people do) write longer pieces over multiple tweets (especially journalists – of all people).

But, generally, 280 letters (including spaces) is all you’ve got to play with.

So, if you want to make an impact, you’ve got to think hard about your message, hone it and refine it until it really packs a punch and says all you need to say in a sentence or two. You can even add a picture to help things along and, as you know, ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’. So that’s about another notional 5,000 characters you’ve got.

Perfect. Hard hitting, punchy marketing message that whacks them right between the eyes.


Except it doesn’t - in most cases.

It’s no better on LinkedIn. Too many posts start with “Great to be…” or “Proud to be…” or “Had a fantastic day doing…” Oh, did you really?

Well aren’t you great, I hoped you enjoyed it. But, really, what’s in it for me?

OK, OK, some people use social media for different things. Yes, there are plenty of narcissists who crave the adulation that prospective suppliers are only too happy to give them. Some people may want to expose some deeply personal issue for the world to applaud/get annoyed at/ignore/feel sorry for. If it helps them, that’s a good thing. It’s their social media as well. And some people just want to be plain nasty. It’s their social media too.

But if you’re using social media to promote your business, products or service or even yourself, don’t follow the crowd, it ain’t gonna work.

Social media is no different from any other media. Good marketing works, bad marketing doesn’t (well it can do if you’ve got enough money to throw at it, but that’s another blog entirely).

In the world outside of social platforms, most marketing isn’t very good. Why should it be any different on social media?

In fact, social media will expose poor marketing even more. When it’s important to get your message across in a few words or a few words and a picture, you’ve really got to work hard on what you want to say to grab people’s attention and make them take notice.

And don’t fall into the trap of thinking click bait will work. It won’t, it’ll just annoy people.

Also being brief doesn’t mean butchering the English language by substituting words with ugly shorthand: ‘What r u doing’. ‘I will c u tommoz’. ‘Can I cum round’. ‘Gr8’. Language should evoke beautiful images like a painting from a great artist, rather than graffiti on the side of a motorway bridge.

Use social media, use it well, perfect your messages, maximise your impact, tell your story and learn how to tell it in the fewest number of words possible.

In this age of social and other digital media, it has never been harder to get your voice heard amongst a background of ‘noise’.

If you do spend time refining what you want to say, identifying what your real selling point is and how best to get this across to your audience so that they instantly ‘get’ what you’re selling, understand how it will benefit them and want to deal with you as a businesses, then…

Then you will cut through the noise and your marketing will work.

So get down to the social media gym. Train hard and train well. And in no time at all your marketing physique will be the envy of the ‘me too’ flab merchants.

Categories: Opinion PR Marketing