Social Media Managers: It’s OK to Feel Uncomfortable

I’ll admit it – Snapchat makes me uncomfortable. I’ve never been one for making goofy faces into the camera, and I just can’t see the appeal in turning your head into a taco or swapping faces with a friend (well – maybe I get the humor in that one). But reading a recent Wall Street Journal article about how brands are using Snapchat to reach millennials, I had an “aha moment.”

Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer, Marisa Thalberg, recounted a pitch from her team about creating a sponsored lens on Snapchat that just wasn’t clicking for her. But she trusted her team and the results were incredible (224 million views!) – and she said “I think it’s important that sometimes I feel uncomfortable.” Bingo!I was quickly transported back to May when I heard a piece on NPR from Youth Radio in which a young reporter talked about the efficacy of brands reaching teens via social media. What struck me in the piece was the clarity from the reporter and his young cohorts that brands, their marketing managers and agencies just don’t get what it’s like to be a teen. Truth. I haven’t been a teen in, well – awhile. And while I certainly understand how to market, it’s a simple truth that I don’t know how to market to everyone, particularly demographics like teens who I’m fairly separated from.

Which brings me back to my “aha” moment: It’s okay to feel uncomfortable when developing a social media strategy. It stands to reason that marketing to a demographic other than your own will cause you to stretch and think in ways you haven’t in years, if ever, and that’s okay. Surround yourself with really smart people who have insight into or are willing to spend the time deeply researching your target market – then trust their instincts. Just because it doesn’t resonate with you doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And you never know, you just might end up with 224 million views to prove it!

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