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MarketingProfs’ Ann Handley On Why Social Marketers Need to Slow Down

By: The Social Shake-Up

June 24, 2019

MarketingProfs’ chief content officer Ann Handley closed out the 2019 Social Shake-Up with a stirring keynote aimed at the social marketer. Instead of advising marketers to keep every social channel chock-full of content and maintain the overall rapid-fire pace of social, Handley urged social marketers to slow down, enjoy the ride and focus on quality over quantity.

Below, The Social Shake-Up asked Handley to dive deeper into her philosophy—especially for those who couldn’t make it to this year’s show. (If FOMO has started to creep in, you can register today for the 2020 Social Shake-Up, May 12-14 at discounted pre-sale rates until Sept. 6).

The Social Shake-Up: You coined the term “slow-cial media.” What does it mean, exactly?

Ann Handley, CCO, MarketingProfs

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

Ann Handley: The companies seeing the most success with social media marketing platforms and technologies are actually those willing not to move faster and faster and faster and faster. Those who see the most success choose…wait for it….to: Slow. Down. Slow-cial media is a less-is-more approach to social media marketing.

Rather than being always-on and always-everywhere, the more strategic and substantive approach is to do less and obsess: Create fewer social media posts with greater impact and over a longer timeframe. Obsess over the value you’re creating and the experience you’re giving your audience. Doing so will improve your results long-term.

The Social Shake-Up: What were the biggest takeaways from your closing keynote at #SSU2019?

Handley: First, we laughed. We had fun. (What a great event and fantastic group!)

Second, we explored a few ideas together: I speak worldwide to tens of thousands of marketers every year. Many of the marketers I meet every year are overwhelmed—stressed by the relentless pace and demands of modern marketing. Why? Because always-on is exhausting. Because the hustle is a lie. And it’s unsustainable.

There is already too much noise: Trying to outwit social media algorithms and out-shout your competitors is no longer the smartest, most strategic approach.

Attendees at the ah-may-zing Social Shake-Up learned how slowing down at key, strategic moments gives necessary respite and perspective—for our businesses, customers, and for ourselves.

The Social Shake-Up: How have you been telling marketers to strategize around email campaigns lately?

Handley: Email is the only place where people—and not algorithms—are in control. Yes, Gmail’s algorithm does try to throw its weight around in your inbox, bullying you into what to open first. But, for the most part, email remains the place where we opt in to see what we want to see.

People opt into your email program because they want to hear from you, which makes the bar high and the opportunity special.

Most companies today use their email newsletter as a distribution strategy. But the email newsletter is inherently personal: Ultimately, it’s a letter from someone to someone. From you to me. So focus not on the news part of the word newsletter, but on the letter. Email newsletters represent the biggest opportunity for marketers to build camaraderie with their audiences.

The Social Shake-Up: What do you see as the biggest shifts in social media and marketing over the last year?

Handley: I’ll answer this in two ways: Tactical and strategic.

First, the tactical: Email newsletters never really went anywhere. But they’ve gotten renewed interest, especially as a link between the customer and social media.

The agency Carney does a great job with linking its daily newsletter (the Daily Carnage) with a social media group of the same name. My friends at ImpactBND do this as well, connecting newsletter to its vibrant social community three times a week.

On a personal level, I do this with my own social presence and my own newsletter, Total Annarchy.

Second, the strategic: To put tactics like newsletters and social media into a larger context, I believe we’re seeing a shift toward one-to-one interactions, and away toward broadcasting to a nameless, faceless audience. Building and scaling camaraderie with customers is the #1 challenge and opportunity of marketing in 2019 and beyond.

Follow Ann: @MarketingProfs

At The Social Shake-Up