It’s time to talk about the huge detractor that’s consumed social media managers for far too long. It’s added noise and clutter to our consumers’ feeds. It’s taken away from meaningful work. And it’s caused stress and anxiety for those who Facebook and Tweet for a living (but really, I know we do a lot more than that).
This detractor is FOMO. The fear of missing out. And, if you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m on a huge crusade to make it stop.
Every second on the internet is technically a missed chanced. There’s always a trending topic, a new meme … and forget Hallmark holidays, we now live in a world fueled by social media holidays. There’s literally a day for everything. How in the world are we supposed to keep up with all of that?
Here’s a secret: We shouldn’t and can’t.
Let’s backtrack to when FOMO really became a huge thing in the industry. It was after Oreo’s “dark in the dunk” tweet (I know, I know). With all the success of that one tweet, every brand decided they needed a voice in pop culture and real-time events. After all, isn’t one viral tweet the secret to driving brand success?
It’s not that I have a problem with Oreo’s tweet. In fact, if a brand is going to jump in on a real-time moment, Oreo nailed it. They inserted themselves into a trending conversation in a way that was on brand, funny and relevant. There was nothing forced about it; it made sense naturally for them.
But ever since then, brands have been forcing their way into conversations. They’re willing to discount their brand voice, their visual identity and even sometimes alienate their core audience all for short-lived (and not guaranteed) retweets. Too many brands are jumping into every holiday for the sake of doing so and adding clutter to the space.
We’ve become too focused on the external pressures of the internet and not focused enough on our own path, vision and brand. Somewhere along the line, FOMO and vanity metrics have replaced the need for a smart, strategic approach. It’s easy to get caught up in, especially when our work is extremely public and opinions come from all four corners. But we have to do things right:
Real-time moments in social are important.
But, they have to be done right. You should never sacrifice what your brand has built (both from voice and visual identity) for quick turn vanity metrics.
Brands have to be original.
What does it mean to do real-time moments, trending topics and holidays right? It means your content is original and on brand. It’s fresh, new and something only you as a brand can truly own.
Real-time moments are a piece of the plan.
A real-time approach can and should be part of your strategy, but it shouldn’t be your only focus. Before you do anything, you have to take the time to establish your POV. Unique value trumps the “everything”. And when you’ve defined your lane it pushes good, tough creative thinking (including with real-time moments). Take a step back and understand your why. Don’t let this pressure to constantly jump in take you away from the foundation of your work. Your brand’s story is better than any flavor of the day… always.
The internet doesn’t need more brands chasing the flavor of the day. It needs more brands focused on a consumer-centric POV and adding value to the space. It’s time to stop wasting so much energy on chasing the next topic of the day and time to focus on your brand, your story… the one you uniquely own. Build a POV and know that it’s okay to not jump in on every conversation. In fact, it takes a lot of guts these days to say no. Build a POV that empowers you to do so. It’s like one of my favorite bloggers Seth Godin said:
Step by step, drip by drip, you carve your path by focusing on what matters, not what’s on everybody’s mind. By the time you try to chase the urgent thing, it’s too late.
There are already enough people chasing FOMO in this crowded space. Step up to the challenge of telling your story in a unique, compelling, emotional way and embrace a new kind of trend, JOMO (the joy of missing out).