There is an invisible training session we are all undergoing throughout our late teens and well into our twenties. It’s self-taught marketing at the most personalised, micro level. We unconsciously learn the art of self marketing to fulfil a basic human desire; to attract a crowd of followers to make us feel accepted and wanted — rather than an isolated nobody. How did our ancestors feel as twenty-something year olds without social media to build and publish their polished digital personality?
On the cusp of turning 30, I am weighing up whether I should take the potentially valuable talent of self marketing into my thirties, or push it out into a deep lake to drown and never be found? Being the considerate person I am, I thought you may want to join me on this game-flipping thought train. Choo choo…
I genuinely believe that every person who is actively using social media and publishing platforms is a marketer in training. I think the traditional Resume or CV is dying, and it is now the streamlined digital self that really gets the TLC when it comes to public image.
The same art of editing your CV to appeal to potential employers is now being applied to how we manage our social media profiles and general online image. We include the necessary, exciting information. We keep it brief and incite interest. We delete any shit bits and share only the good bits. We filter to keep our image blemish free and we obsessively tag and label to appear well-connected.
That is basic marketing, and we’re all applying it to our lives subconsciously, every day.
In an incredibly short amount of time, we have utilised the tools given to us by the internet to grow our own image online and shape it into a smarter, neater, more attractive version of our weak, raw selves.
I am not saying that every one who uses Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter can simply go out and apply for a marketing role tomorrow. I am saying that the level of understanding the average person now has of marketing processes and practices — especially teenagers and those in their twenties — is far more advanced than ever before in the industry. Are traditional marketers aware of this? Do they know most of their classic tactics are transparent and obvious to the younger generation?
Most of us twenty-somethings (I can still say this for a few more weeks) naturally know how to:
- self-edit our posts
- generate interest and desire
- target our message to a particular audience
- include media to support our message
- tailor media to the platform it’s published on
- link to relevant, outside sources
- keep it short and sweet.
The above can be said for almost any normal social media post you see from your friends or family online. We know our basic marketing shit and we don’t even know it. Well, some of us are totally clued in to our secret powers. They are the ones that will thrive in those marketing roles.
My own experience of professional marketing for both private and public organisations throughout my twenties has afforded me some bonus insight on this topic. I can see (again, not sure if this is a gift or a curse) this transparent layer draped over everything we are publishing online about ourselves that mirrors a lot of what I’ve been taught in a formal setting. So it all feels rather common sense. To me, the basic rules of creating great marketing content are now so common they barely need to be stated.
And if they do need to be stated? Well, that person shouldn’t really be working in a content marketing role, should they. The lessons have been scattered all around them for at least a decade now.