Video Review of a Social Media Webinar

A video review of the webinar/video presentation of Meet Edgar's "Ten Social Media Tips for 2019 Success", for the MSc course in Information Systems (University of Salford).

Video produced through slides made with LibreOffice Impress and audio with GNOME SoundRecorder, and composed with OpenShot.

Whilst a transcription is not available, the following is the content from the slideshow presentation.

Ten Social Media Tips for 2019

* This is a review of Meet Edgar’s “Ten Social Media Tips for 2019”
* The video (and transcript) is available from the following URL
* Presenters are Megan and Christina Meet Edgar Community Social Media
* First argument is that social media is a free platform where you can connect with your followers and create a community.
* The presentation does not describe or differentiate between specific social media platforms, but rather gives general advice common to all.
* This immediately limits the value the presentation; the sort of engagement that one has on Facebook is different to Twitter is different to Youtube is different to Livejournal (does anyone outside of Russia still actively use LJ?), or even Usenet, due to the posting restrictions (word count, imagery), style, and especially community norms.

Tip 1: More social less media

* Purpose of this suggestion is to encourage authenticity in marketing, and that “personal branding is now part of company branding”, so engage directly with followers, add more personality into their social media posts. “People buy from people, not businesses”.
* It is claimed that engagement provides for opportunities to connect with followers, find out what drives them, establish brand-loyalty on the basis of brand personality.
* This is all largely true, but over-stated. For example the webinar has completely overlooked the importance of business-to-business transactions (even if these are not usually via social media). The assertion of “brand personality” is backwards; actors (even corporate actors) have personality. A brand is an identifier of a personality.

Tip 2: More Listening, Less Broadcasting

* Discover pain points of consumer, find out what their ideal image of themselves in the future and try to create a situation where your products and services match that image.
* There’s more content on social media than is possible for a consumer to process. It should be stated that in a factor leading to a greater balance of market power between the supplier of goods and services and the consumer of goods and services (other factors, such as a concentration of capital, are a countervailing trend).
* Argues that producers need to “listen and reply and engage with your followers not just broadcast out your promotions”.

Tip 3 More Video, Less Text

* Argues that "everything we read, every trend we're seeing, every analytics that we're looking at goes to this idea that video is where it's at on social media".
* Produce exclusive video content for followers, and encourage comments.
* Claims that live streams generates the most views.
* Drive engagement through emotional reactions.
* Ironically, the video provided by Meet Edgar is essentially a presentation with images and a voice-over (like this one too, but at least I’m knowingly self-referentially ironic).
* Video is a great media for immersion in exciting live content. It is not live streams that generates the views but the content of the live streams (otherwise Andy Warhol’s Empire would be a great film).
* In reality text is ten times faster than video, can be easily referenced,and is technologically a more independent media.

Tip 4 More new experiences

* Argues that marketing agents must keep an eye on what’s coming up next in social media, find out which platforms are winning, and direct experiments on those.
* If the platform or the social media posts fail to connect then use it as a learning experience and incorporate those lessons in the base networks.
* This advice is horribly vague and could be a massive sinkhole of time and effort if followed as presented. Instead they should be providing a metric for experimentation, trigger levels for greater levels of investment etc

Tip 5 More Content Creation, Less Analytics

* Claims that checking in analytics can be addictive; instead of doing it daily, do it every week or so. Instead, concentrate on content creation and follow meaningful trends over weeks, months, etc.
* This is fairly sound advice, although further practical elaboration on how to correlate analytics information with action would be appreciated. Advice is simply to “really connect the dots on where things are going in your marketing strategy”. That’s not exactly helpful from an information systems point of view.

Tip 6 More education and emotion and less selling

* The proposal is to walk through the “buyer’s journey” (see also Tip 9) and teach them how to use the product to its fullest, and give them an emotional boost when they succeed with it.
* This makes sense with complex products with high price tags that can cover the cost of servicing the customer (for example a supercomputer with training included). Not exactly sure how this is especially relevant for consumer products sold through social media, unless it is mass transmission (e.g., training videos) rather than individual coaching.
* Something that probably should have been included is the potential of conflict between emotion and education. Many emotional decisions are not educated decisions. The ideal customer is one who is deeply committed to a product with grounded reasons, rather than just rash feelings.

Tip 7 More Values, Less Guessing

* A corporate body should have “brand values” which become known to the social media followers.
* Consistency and committed to the values in every social media post.
* Values can change through conversations with consumers.
* Again, brands don’t have values but represent values. Values represent the moral integrity of an organisation. Good corporate practise to liaise with independent organisations and potential critics (e.g., unions, environmental groups, workplace advocates etc).

Tip 8 More customer hero, less product hero

* The presentation argues that the structure of the Hero’s journey can be applied to the customer and social media marketing; “people are going throughout something, they come to a struggle, they overcome it and they are better off for it at the end.”
* Part of the process is to get user-generated content on success stories and share them as social proof in product reassurance.
* The great insight of Joseph Campbell, “The Hero with A Thousand Faces” in generating the monomyth (the hero ventures from the ordinary world to the supernatural, confronts great and magical adversaries, returns and bestows new powers to the community), has been converted to a shopping expedition.
* Raising any customer or product to a heroic level is worthy of ridicule. Mortal bravery is required, not a high-limit credit card.

Tip 9 More answers, less questions

* Suggestions to seek follower questions to develop a list of frequent questions; make it a consistent fun activity to invite followers to participate in regular question and answer sessions. Note that private message requests are increasing faster than requests on public forums.
* Curious that the authors are suggesting developing a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) which have been on the Internet (originally by NASA) since the early 1980s and arguably in publications since the 17th century.
* The matter of private messaging is probably a result of increased awareness of privacy issues.

Tip 10 More Traffic, Less Work

* Propose "working smarter" and "systemizing your social media strategy". The advice doesn't really come down to more than having a time-based plan for social media content.
* Even if one does adopt a project-like approach to social media one has to consider time, product, and cost (the classic project management triad) along with contingencies, or the classic marketing approach of product, price, and place.
* Just because we’re in the supposedly new world of social media and individualised market segments these hard issues can’t be hand-waved away.
* The best way to develop “more traffic, less work” is to have a good product at a good price when users need it, and then they’ll do a lot of the marketing for you!

Concluding Remarks

* There was some good material in the presentation, with regards to individual approaches and customer engagement, along with correctly identifying these as part of other trends in online communication.
* However much of the material was seriously short on elaboration, over-stated the case significantly, and lack a quantitative evaluation. The signal to noise ratio was very low.
* It is extremely difficult to see how the authors could seriously argue that this material reflected “Ten Social Media Tips for 2019”. Much of it was not related to social media, let alone material that is particularly important for 2019.
* Really, the presentation could have done with an information systems perspective. That is, looking at social media marketing as being a system, with a technological and business workflow, with market segment inputs decision points, triggers and contingencies, and so forth. The positive aspects of the presentation were random, the negative comes down to a lack of a systemic perspective.