Facebook marketing experts were hit with a study this week that can only be described as depressing. Psychologist Dr. Leonard Sax has been making headlines with claims that Facebook can actually cause depression in teenage girls.
“Then they look at all the other girls’ Facebook pages, look at them being happy and think, ‘my life sucks, look at all the things those girls are doing and how much fun they’re having,’” Sax says.
Girls who spend too much time on Facebook aren’t nurturing real life relationships, he notes. But this isn’t just sad news for teenage girls and their families. For about two years, mental health professionals have been monitoring what they call “social media depression,” a sadness or deep depression caused by following other people’s lives on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Couple this with studies that link anxiety caused by reading news online, and it’s impossible not to wonder: What can business bloggers and social media marketers do to make the Internet less depressing?
First off, we should make it clear that we in no way think that some happy online marketing can make the problems go away — just as it’s impossible for an organization or company to say things to erase a person’s mental health problems. Still, marketers do have the power to send messages that add to the online experience of users. Blogs with positive themes or that teach readers something consistently rank as the most popular and widely read on the ‘net.
So why not use your company blog to teach your readers a thing or two? Instructional blogs aren’t just a good way to add positive juju to your blog, but they are also a clever way to inject your products and services into your posts. Baking companies like Duncan Hines and Pillsbury have been using their blogs and social media pages like this for years and you can easily see why. Coca-Cola is another big brand that uses Facebook for good instead of evil. The soda company has slyly slipped into the top position when it comes to social media marketing with the happy images and life-affirming messages on the its Facebook page. Coke’s Facebook page isn’t out to change the world, but it does make visitors smile with classic visuals and sunny branded messages from the past and present.
Whether it’s teaching your readers some new tricks or spreading a positive message, we as marketers can do our small part make the barrage of Internet information less drab and depressing. Plus, by offering readers solutions or laughs or good ideas, we giving them a reason to keep coming back. And that’s something for everyone to smile about!