REM Explains Social Media Marketing

Photo by qnibert00

The now defunct band REM, out of Athens, Georgia, earned recognition and passionate loyalty over the course of their existence. The darling of college radio stations, then part of the rock n’ roll mainstream, REM was politically outspoken, at times funny, and almost always great musicians.

What a lot of people may not realize is that REM, in the midst of making statements about the world today, was also offering some guidance on how to best approach social media marketing. The truly amazing thing is that in some cases, they offered this advice before social media marketing even existed. Weird, huh?

I figured you might not believe me, so here are some of the lessons REM has offered regarding social media marketing over the years.

“Talk About the Passion”

More than just lyrics, this advice is also a song title, and it could not be more appropriate for social media marketers. Whether online or offline, passion is contagious. If you talk about the passion you have for your cause rather than simply asking for contributions, you will experience far more success.

“When the world is a monster bad to swallow you whole,
Kick the clay that holds the teeth in, throw your trolls out the door”

These lyrics are from the song “Can’t Get There From Here.” Very clearly, this advice is for those sad times when you are being victimized by an online “troll”––a person who for some reason wants to constantly tear down you and your cause. Throwing the trolls out the door is probably the best response. Remember, trolls are mostly after attention. Don’t let them get what they want.

“It’s these little things, they can pull you under
Live your life filled with joy and wonder”

Sometimes social media marketing can be extremely frustrating, especially when you are first getting started. Nobody seems to reply to you on Twitter. Your Facebook fan page has been stuck at 37 fans for about 6 months. Nobody comments on your blog posts. REM wants you to remember that despite these frustrations, you can keep on going, find the fun, and eventually success will follow.

“Make your critics fumble through,
Make it smart and make it schmooze,
Make it look easy”

Have you ever been reminded of the moral of the swimming duck? On the surface it looks like the duck is barely exerting any energy at all, but if you were to look below the surface of the water, you’d see the duck’s feet paddling like mad. The same illusion can be created with your social media marketing. So long as you stay on a steady path and do your own thing, not worrying about trolls or your competition, you will make it look easy. It’s hard work, but if done right, people will wonder how the ins and outs of social media marketing come so easy to you.

“I had to write the great American novel,
I had a neutron bomb,
I had to teach the world to sing by the age of 21″

REM wants you to know, via these lyrics, that you can’t try to accomplish everything in the online world all at once. When you first start tweeting or blogging on behalf of your cause, you will notice other social media accounts that seem to get retweeted no matter what they say. Their blog posts always spread across the web like wildfire. You feel the pressure. You want to have success like that. However, social media marketing takes time. It takes time to build trust with your audience. It takes time to find your voice, to learn what works and what doesn’t. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

“Listen to the devils in my ear.
Tell me what, what I want to hear”

Social Media can be very seductive. You can start collecting Facebook fans and Twitter followers. People find it easy to offer compliments in the online world. Pretty soon those followers and fans and compliments can become addictive, and you may find yourself posting things to get “likes” rather than things that are actually relevant to your cause. REM wants you to know that this can harm your efforts in the long run. While random compliments are nice and good for the individual ego, they won’t mean a lot to your bottom line.

These are just a few of the lessons REM has offered over the years regarding social media marketing. What have you learned about social media thanks to REM? We’d love to hear from you!