Today marks the start of Social Media Week and as Glasgow is one of the 13 host cities I thought it would be appropriate to highlight a bit of a pandemic I’ve noticed within the Scottish startup community in regards to social media.
Whilst I’m not a marketer by trade on the whole I’d like to think I’m pretty competent and do a decent, if not spectacular, job marketing RookieOven with the resources available to me. However I feel there are several high profile initiatives out there with the intention of helping startups in Scotland that I’m worried are having a net detrimental effect on the local community through their use of social media. I feel these initiatives are failing Scottish startups through their spammy communications.
In regards to their use of social media it’s all about creating *buzz*. That is poisonous.
To me it’s a fundamental of the trade that marketing isn’t a scale game, it’s quality. The numbers you should be focusing on are click through, ROI and other quality metrics. Not mentions, RT’s, likes or follows. Seemingly from the outside looking in these institutions are obsessed with the latter. The result, effectively spam.
This spam not only means their message, whatever it is, is completely lost but it also makes me questions the quality of their service. A fixation on these vanity metrics sets the alarm bells going.
Peppering tweets with emoji, a shotgun approach to using hashtags and tagging people in messages with utterly no relevance are among my major gripes I see on Twitter. However the spam is spreading, the use of other services stimulating this spread which is further fuelled by cross posting betweens services.
There’s also what effectively boils down to a social media circle jerk; RT’s and #FF’s (yes in 2012) among a merry little gang of followers. To me this adds no value to the those taking part, in fact to me it certainly has a negative impact.
Why am I writing this post? Because I’m worried. There are interesting startups and very talented founders associated with these initiatives and I’m worried about the negative impact this association is having on their brands and their ambitions to create successful businesses. I’m also worried about the knock on affect this can have on the wider Scottish startup community, we could all far too easily be tainted with the same brush.
You may notice I’ve not called out these spammers. Why won’t I name names? Because I hope they’ll learn. As an initiative with the intention of aiding startups it must also act in itself as a startup. In my eyes this means an ability to build, measure and learn. Hopefully they see the folly in what they’re doing and rectify it.
I only hope the damage hasn’t already been done.