What Makes Social Media Really Tick?

how to make social media marketing work

Social media is something wonderful in the modern age, especially for business owners. The amount of reach, and by extension marketing opportunity there is is unprecedented. Never before has there been a platform to reach people globally, in a targeted and specific manner, instantly and with such subtlety. If you had told the New York Madison Square advertisers the television series ‘Mad Men’ were based on about this new development, they would have laughed you out of the office. 

This power does not necessarily automatically mean it is easy to use. It takes a keen eye and understanding of social media trends to capitalize on them effectively, and with insight. Social media is immediate yes, but the attitudes and ideas which make certain things popular are continually changing with technological and societal growth. The following article will explore these themes, and hopefully provide some valuable advice regarding the generation of your more successful marketing campaigns. 

Controversy Abounds 

Controversy can work both against and in favor of your business goals, depending on how you structure it. Some businesses structurally plan their efforts to be purposefully controversial in order to gain massive exposure. To best illustrate this, we’re going to use two examples from 2017. Now, we all know that this year has been politically turbulent to say the least, meaning that social media discussion around this has been the most visible. 

Pepsi released an ad earlier in the year featuring a group protesting against an undisclosed social issue. Kendall Jenner (of the Kardashian fame - we know,) handed a Pepsi to one of the actors playing a member of the riot police, and then the two halves settle their differences. This implied that all political arguments can be settled easily with the right beverage (but certainly not Coke!) This was seen as on the nose, unsubtle and bluntly offensive. 

Pepsi did gain a lot of exposure (not that they needed it,) but in a negative way. Some consumers even went so far as to explicitly boycott Pepsico. It didn’t work in the way they intended, despite investing heavily in spreading this advertisement around many social media channels. 

On the other hand Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, a first-person shooter video game set in an area where the Germans won World War II, used their platform to spread controversy in another way. Using the hashtags #NotMyAmerica among others, many drew parallels to the #NotMyPresident and other hotbed criticisms of the current presidential administration of Donald Trump. No matter your political affiliation, you can see how this would garner attention. The game achieved widespread Twitter, Facebook and forum discussion (on platforms like Reddit) thanks to this, and sold incredibly well. Controversy abounds, but only if you use it correctly. 


Immediacy is important. You need to read the common perspectives, such as jokes frequently made, ‘memes’ shared relevant to your offering, among other trending issues. This is a great way to get noticed, because more and more people are conforming to the overall common discussions that are taken as important. For example, if a news article comes out about how many sea turtles are dying from waste plastics in the Ocean, and this is a hotbed issue and hashtag, it could be a great time to promote how your product only ships with biodegradable and recycled packaging. It’s a little blunt and obvious, but it can work well. If you do it right, it can actually have quite subtle potential. You need to read the common trending topics RELEVANT TO YOUR SPECIFIC DEMOGRAPHIC and act on it. 

Social Selling Suggestions

Think of social media marketing like fishing. With the right hook, bait and timing, you can potentially draw a larger weight of exposure to your brand, but only if you make use of the advice offered here. Start your SMM smart with no screw ups!

I hope you enjoyed this article about what makes social media really work.

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