Social dilemma

Posted onOctober 05, 2020


Are you a brand or marketing manager who has watched The Social Dilemma? Has it got you all shook up? 

Fear not. Charlotte from the Clearbox content team has some words of comfort on how you can navigate the (seemingly) growing trend of dialling down social media use. 

The Social Dilemma: Is this the end for your current social strategy?

“What I want everyone to know is that everything they’re doing online is being watched, is being tracked - every single action you take is carefully monitored and recorded” - Jeff Seibert, American entrepreneur and investor.

This is one of the first comments heard in the trailer for The Social Dilemma - a new Netflix documentary that has social media users across the globe waking up to the intricate web of tactics and algorithms designed to keep them scrolling.

With tense music, dramatisation and lots of concerned experts blowing the whistle on their own creations, the documentary uncovers a darker side to what is a passive addiction for many, asking the population to rethink their social media habits.

Last month, we also saw social media superstar Zoella teaming up with #IAMWHOLE and Lush Cosmetics to promote Digital Detox Day - a mental health campaign aiming to raise awareness of the negative effects of social media, and its impact on our mental health.

So it begs the question: when your consumer base is proactively and deliberately switching off, how can brands continue to engage via social media?

1. Don’t overload. 

Big brands with big budgets are creating flashy social content on a daily basis, and for the average consumer it can become overwhelming. Algorithms force ads onto screens, clogging up newsfeeds and pushing out pictures from friends and family and let’s face it, that’s not what anyone joined Instagram for! 

If users are constantly seeing posts, Instagram Stories, reminders and notifications from a brand’s page, they’re more likely to suffer from exposure fatigue and ignore, or worse, unfollow them.

2. Mobilise.

Now more than ever, social media is at the forefront of breaking news and the public is using these channels to share information quickly, find like-minded people, rally together and organise mass movements.

As a brand, creating a sense of community on each of your channels, where individual consumers can share a common goal, belief or interest, is a highly effective way to garner and maintain a sense of loyalty from new and existing followers.

3. Don’t fight it. 

The COVID consumer is tired, bored and let’s face it, sick of their screens. Brands should be aiming to make audience’s lives easier through concise, digestible content - light-hearted, entertaining messages, where appropriate, and new ways for them to engage with (wait for it) each other, not just your brand.

Ultimately, social media channels should not be hosting “who can shout (and pay to shout) the loudest” contests for brands. It’s about speaking to your audience in a way that supports their lifestyle, their beliefs, their likes and dislikes, hobbies and everything else that makes them uniquely them. And that includes life outside of Instagram or Facebook!

If your average consumer needs some time away from their phone screen, that’s okay - embrace it and just make sure that when they log back in, you’re adding value to their lives (read: feeds) in a way that will make them want to come back to say hi!