THE GAME OF SOCIAL MEDIA

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My husband Rob is also a contributor to The Shaker, and we were chatting about this week’s topic of gaming, and how it applies to business. I was encouraging him to write a piece as he often reflects on the similarities and he also loves gaming. I don’t game, so how could I contribute?

But then I realise, I do, I have a ‘game’ that I play every day, for extended periods of time, and that game is social media.

Let’s face it, businesses of 2019, especially small and boutique businesses rely on social media. It’s a fantastic tool, and allows us to gain a network reach beyond what we were able to do even a decade ago, (ok, maybe two, where have the years gone?) It’s become so important that there is an entire industry to help us grow our reach, build interactions, market the right people, and to create beautiful feeds. Now it’s more valuable to invest in a social media manager than it is paying for advertising in a newspaper.

But how is it a game? I ask you instead, how isn’t it? Its strategic, time sensitive, calculated, targeted, and there’s a formula for success. But as your social media manager will advise, people are becoming savvier, and we need to go beyond the formula to actually turn engagements into quantifiable business opportunities.

I am in the process of getting registered as a Real Estate sales agent, and while studying I have been transitioning my personal brand away from the wedding industry and into the real estate industry. While I have the time, I have been working on growing my reach and boosting my interactions. A friend of mine suggested I try Gary Vee’s $1.80 technique , which I tried one evening on Instagram, and it worked. Have a read on the link, but essentially you go to 10 of the hashtags relevant to your industry, and comment and like the top 9 posts.

Low and behold by the morning I had a dozen new followers, for what was actually not that much effort on my part. However, these followers were mostly hot people from America that specialise in business growth, living large and buying sports cars. Good for the eye candy for a few minutes, but really, they aren’t actually quantifiable business leads. Numbers of followers only go so far, and these guys (and girls) have had success from the people that buy into the ‘game’. The game where things look amazing, you’re dripping with cash and surrounded by beautiful people. Sign up to their program, and watch the dollars roll in.

We live in a world where dogs can have more Instagram followers than a charity, where there is a new generation of people having critical discussions about the impact of social media, on those with eating disorders. Gaming addiction use to be something concerned parents blamed for violent behaviour in youths, and now standing alongside that is social media addiction, consuming the minds of our young people, and us too. There’s science now around what the effects of all this social media usage is having on us as a society, so add that to your list of critical things to stress about too.

I spoke to Hayley Peters, Co-Founder of Oh My Digital Agency and a childhood friend, and she agrees; “Social media is absolutely a game, I would compare it to a game like The Sims, where you’re playing for the long-term gain. You must identify what your goals are, set yourself up with the right foundations from the beginning, surround yourself with the right (supportive, likeminded) people and equip yourself with a plan of attack. Without goals in place you’re basically just winging it and hoping for the best

So, what’s one thing that seems to stand out amongst the scroll and the minutia of social media? People are craving authenticity. Social media managers like Hayley, are putting the emphasis on posting to stories, warts and all (please don’t put your warts on your stories, or do, is there some sort of wart awareness we need?). She says; “The biggest piece of advice we can give to anyone trying to master the art of social media is to lead with value – hit your followers with so many reasons to invest in your journey that they fall in love with you.”

Essentially, people are wanting more than pretty images on a feed, they are wanting glimpses on how normal you are, how you do normal human things. One of the stories I posted with the most engagement was actually just a day where I shared the gardening my family and I were doing. We want social media to be real life again, because we all so eagerly let it consume us that we forgot we were losing ourselves in it. When really, it can be no more real than many hours spent roaming around Skyrim.

(Caveat: I had no idea Skyrim was a name of a place, I needed Rob to clarify that. Love from the not gamer half of the Way team)

Written by Bianca Way and Published by The Shaker: https://theshaker.com.au/briefing/game-social-media

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