The days of asking questions such as “Should I have a social media presence?” are over.
It’s been decided. You and your brand need to be there.
The conversations about your products and services are already taking place. It’s up to you whether or not you want to take part in them or leave that opportunity open to your competition.
The questions marketers should be asking in 2014 have less to do with the necessity of social media, and more to do with the technicalities of what works best on specific platforms.
The general consensus in years past has been that you have to “do something” on social media in order to stay relevant. This meant setting up a social presence across a multitude of networks and then pumping out content. The emphasis was more on the volume of content than on the quality of content.
Guess what? Those days are over. Volume of content now takes a back seat to quality of content.
Let me give you a great example of this.
Let’s say you’re a dentist and on your Facebook page you regularly post articles published by national news sites such as the New York Times or USA Today that have to do with dentistry, teeth, and related health topics. You’ve been distributing this content through your Facebook page for months now, yet you have very little engagement on these posts. Why is that?
Well, for one thing, it’s a “low effort” social activity.
How long did it really take you to find a news article about dentistry and post it on your page? Not long at all. Facebook knows this, and that’s why they’ve created an algorithm that attributes a much lesser weight to such content as compared to a “high effort” social activity.
Advancing this example, a “high effort” social activity would be for you to host an interactive question and answer session on Facebook on a regular basis where you spend a couple of hours at a time taking questions on dentistry and responding in real-time. Whew, that sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Yes, it is.
But those kinds of efforts are what works best in a noisy world.
Let’s face it, if I really wanted to read an article on dentistry published by the New York Times, I’d follow the New York Times, or I’d do a quick Google search for articles on that topic. There’s no point in bloating up my news feed with “low effort” social content like that, just because you needed something to fill empty space on your page.
If I’m going to “like” your Facebook page, it’s because I want to stay in touch with what you’re doing, at your office, in your company, for your clients.
Tell me how you are different. Share original articles from your very own blog. Post pictures from your latest event. There are so many ways to connect with an audience that are far better than just linking to a third-party news article.
Yet, brands still do it all the time.
And please don’t get me wrong. This isn’t an all-or-nothing approach. Posting a few third-party article links every now and then is fine. You have to switch things up and sometimes this can give a fresh perspective. Just don’t make this your main strategy.
What I’m getting at is that if this is all you’re doing on social media, then you’re actually doing your fans and followers a disservice. You’re just filling their news feeds with junk (if it even gets into their news feed, but that’s a whole different issue).
The bottom line is that in 2014, the brands that succeed with social media will be defined by the quality of the content they produce. If you want to be within that group, stop posting “filler” content and start producing your own stuff, whether it be blog posts, infographics, white papers, PDFs, videos, slide decks, images, podcasts or a million other things for that matter.
Be a creator first and a curator second.
Of course, sharing the work of others is important. We do it all the time. The backbone of social media is built upon social sharing. There’s a time and place for it, without a doubt. But don’t let your entire social campaign be defined by sharing.
Add to the conversation in your own unique way. It takes more time and effort, but your fans and followers will thank you for it in the long run.