I’ve been learning a lot from renowned social media marketer Gary Vaynerchuk since I started reading his book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World (aka. JJJRH. Read it – you won’t regret it). I’ve previously written about how I’ve learned to justify the ROI of micro-content and the different nuances across platforms from this book, but there is one key thing I’ve learned from Vaynerchuk that beats out every other lesson:

Do not be a snob.

There it is. Simple. Your elementary school lessons repeated to you in five ink-black words laid out on page 30. The fact is, innovation is by its very nature, disruptive. And no matter how open we think we are, we all have some inherent biases that may cloud our judgement. Social media marketers especially, are not immune to this, particularly when it comes to new and emerging social media platforms.

When Snapchat first came out and my little brothers started using it to share photos with their friends, I didn’t think anything of it. Well, that’s not true. My first thought was, “sexting app?!!” I was dismissive and thought it was a phase. Then the platform grew and has exploded amongst teens and millennials.

Then Periscope edged Meerkat out and continues to grow in popularity, with more and more brands appearing each day. When I first proposed creating a Periscope account for employer branding purposes, my bosses were hesitant (eventually supportive), but struggled to understand how this livestreaming app with people contemplating life while sitting in hot tubs could be relevant to their brand. And despite Pinterest “producing four times the revenue-per-click of Twitter”* and “Pinterest users being 79% more likely to purchase something they spot on Pinterest than on Facebook”*, the number of brands leveraging this platform is a handful. Everyone is, in some sense or another, still playing catch up.

As Vaynerchuk concedes, there are a number of reasons brands aren’t on Pinterest. For one thing, many are still struggling to get the hang of Facebook and Twitter, as well as concerns about copyright infringements. Why add on yet another platform to manage? However, where there’s a will, there’s a way. And frankly, many brands just don’t have the will or the foresight to understand how Pinterest could be used for more than wedding planning or recipe sharing.

Vaynerchuk so eloquently (and bluntly) says:

Ignoring platforms that have gained critical mass is a great way to look slow and out-of-touch. Do not cling to nostalgia. Do not put your principles above the reality of the market. Do not be a snob. You cannot win big in social media if you’re going to be afraid of emerging technology.

This brings me to my next thought – expectations. Oftentimes, when we think about great social media marketing, we think about getting the most clicks and all the ways that we can “go viral”. There was even this amazing video about how to go Buyralwhich is testament to brands’ obsessions of viral content (hat tip to my social media marketing professor Karen Schulman-Dupuis).

When you evaluate greatness of your content using a scale of virality, you set a pretty high bar. This can be an intimidating barrier for both new and seasoned marketers alike. There’s a mentality that your content is only good if it draws people to Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram, wherever you may be, or if that unique hashtag you created for your campaign starts trending. Only then are you a great marketer. Well, my friend, you gotta have a pretty great stash of genius to achieve that.

But… maybe there is no such thing as being a genius marketer. Maybe the genius lies in acceptance. Do not be a snob. Do not make your audience follow your content. It’s about going where your audience is. It’s about following and capitalizing on the trends, not creating them. It’s about joining the conversation about that viral video your audience has been talking about, instead of about creating the viral video

It’s about being human. Not about being genius.

Thanks for the wisdom, Vaynerchuk.

*Page 28 of JJJRH

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