I am a self-confessed Hip-Hop head. I reached my Hip Hop heyday in the 90’s with groups such as Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde and De La Soul. This form of Hip Hop was called “conscious” rap because of the content, thought and movement that was a product of the music of the time. Studio Gangsta Rappers were shunned and your rep was based on the music you produced, not a marketing campaign. As a 42-year-old Social Media Marketing Consultant I struggle to stay true to my Hip Hop roots, or move on to Classic Jazz? I can not relate to today’s version of Hip Hop “Chain Music”. No content, no point, just a catchy heavy base beat and a gold chain.
When you look at the current Digital Marketing landscape……one could say it’s gone the way of “Chain Music”! Social Media is “en vogue” so companies jumped in flooding timelines with shameless sales plugs and pitches. Forbes Magazine wrote about the importance of Social Media for Small Business as far back as 2011. Over that span of time the Social Media Marketing Industry has changed immensely. It was the connection that was important…….an online interaction that creates an in person engagement. With the introduction of Facebook Ads and other products, you can pay for Likes and Followers. It’s no longer about building an organic online community, it’s about paying to get into the timelines of the masses. Social Media has gone the way of the Google Search Consultant…”but you have 50,000 impressions!” When numbers become the game in Social Media, failure is imminent. When there is no true content, people will eventually learn the truth. There are those Social Media Marketing Consultants and Agencies that get it right. They realize that just setting up an “Enter to Win an iPad” link isn’t true traffic. When I see companies and marketing consultants that get it right, I remain hopeful for our industry. Despite all the filters that keep your message out of timelines unless you pay to play……..we can still be heard if you have the rigtht content, the right message and the right audience.
Just as my hope in the Social Media Marketing industry is renewed from time to time, my hope in Hip Hop is renewed when I hear song’s like Wale’s “Chain Music”. Wale is a Washington D.C. Metro area native and has been on the scene for years but he didn’t receive the national recognition he deserved until he inked a deal with MMG. Although Wale’s message hasn’t changed, his delivery has……a line from Chain Music states, “tried to give you light and a message, but you’d rather have some VVS’ (diamonds). He realized that the culture of the Chain Music era is a necessary evil, just as Social Media is a necessary evil for businesses. If there is no engagement, no connection, no information exchange……..Social Media Marketers may as well trade their corporate suits in for gold chains.
Juan De Cruz, Jr.
Social Media Marketing, SEO/SEM, e-Mail Marketing Consulting