Do we need really content? 4 considerations for delivering effective social media
Recently we’ve been looking at whether we need digital marketing and then whether we really still need websites in the age of mobile. We now dig deeper and ask: do we really need content? Amid a culture of ephemeral, short-lived communication, is there any point in spending time creating great stories and content?
In our last blog, reflecting our throw-away society, we saw dad giving the garage an annual spring clean. He decided (wisely) that hot tubs were more Sue and Nigel next door, so it therefore might not come as a surprise to learn that Sue and Nigel do not have a garage spring clean like the rest of us.
The ‘live-light’, disposable generation
You see, nothing stays in Sue and Nigel’s garage, they live-light, the disposable generation. Garden chairs need a paint? Nah, chuck ‘em out – Sue’s seen some at the sale at B&Q, so get some nice shiny ones instead. Bike brakes need a tweak? Bin it, Nigel’s seen a pretty cool shiny one that he likes in a catalogue.
Sue and Nigel adhere to the ‘live life to the max’ philosophy, get busy, fill up your calendar months in advance; hot tubs parties, foreign package holidays, maybe even a cruise. It reflects that you are a mover and shaker – and popular.
Now life is so busy and so many people have so many friends, the pressure is to appear more on social media, post more – and think less.
But is this really working?
Recently there have been signs of fatigue at this approach. More and more young people are reported to be leaving social media because they find it overwhelming. Wellness and wellbeing are becoming the buzzwords. Some people have even been outside for a walk, without even checking their phones for ‘really cool stuff to do nearby’.
So, this leads us to the question: do you really need content? Here are our 4 considerations for delivering effective digital marketing:
Yes, that’s right – science. How does this help us with issues of content and social media? Well, with the pressure to be busy and to engage with more and more people, science says we can’t really cope.
Unfortunately for the fast lane crowd, science says that your brain can only cope with 5 friends. Not unreasonable if you think about it. How many hours are there free in a day to interact with people after sleeping, eating, working and exercising/slobbing-out in front of the TV? Not many. Add a couple of kids and soon there’s no time to blink, let alone spend hours scrolling through rubbish on social media.
The first blow to the ‘give the people more’ school of thought.
- Free and Open Social Media Access
Back in the old days, only proper journalists got to say things to the world. It took training and an apprenticeship under the guidance of a cynical hack down at the local rag. You had to survive 2 years of making tea, passive smoking and knocking up copy about lost cats before moving on to realise your dreams.
If anyone else wanted to shout to the world, the only route was a stiff letter to the editor, flyposting bus stops, or shoving leaflets in people’s trolleys outside the local supermarket.
But nowadays, anyone can post anything – irrespective of whether they have anything to say, or have the ability to craft words into meaningful sentences.
Lots of people think that short is best, but that’s probably because they realise that writing is difficult. Try writing something original and witty on a birthday card. Yep, staring at a that blank page is quite hypnotic isn’t it? Suddenly a few minutes feels like an hour and you end up scribbling: ‘you don’t look a day over 21 ha ha’ – and hating yourself for it.
- Bland content is easy.
The result is that there’s now too much out there and most material that you will read quite frankly will be meaningless gibberish. How many feeds do you see that blandly churn out a list of anniversary and special days and post articles from months and months, or even years ago?
As Kasey Kaplan recently argues on Forbes (just last month!):
“In 2012, you could get away with wishing your audience a happy [insert theme here] day and asking them how they planned to celebrate with absolutely no relevance to your brand or the customer value add.”
Did you know that we’re in Bognor Regis? (Yes, we did, it says it on your Twitter feed). Did you know it’s hop-to-work-on-a-Pogostick-day? (No, but we really couldn’t care less) Have you seen this article on marketing segmentation? (Yes, because we read it in Marketing Week 9 months ago when it was actually published).
That is engagement, they will tell you. Keep it light, keep it fun. Really? Do your followers feel you’ve added any value to their lives by pointing out National Poodle Day? Probably not. Will they feel that they are valued by you posting articles that are months old? No, it just shows that you are not keeping abreast with the latest articles yourself.
It is much harder and much more time consuming to produce something meaningful and useful.
- Fourth consideration: Competition.
So, what’s the result of all this? More competition for a crowded space. More noise, more chatter.
Organic reach is down across all platforms. Why? Social media giants want to make money, so if you can reach everyone for free, there’s no incentive to pay for promoting posts or ads. So, this makes the market even more competitive.
How then do you differentiate yourself?
Not only will great content make your readers stop and dwell on your site, not only will it make them think following you will bring them some useful benefits, but it is also the bedrock of creating trust between you and your audience.
We started with some scientific statistics, so let’s end with some:
93% of successful brands are committed to content, 68% use social media stories, 74% of used longform content. Furthermore 88% of content markers agree that:
“content makes their audience view their organisation as a credible and trusted source.”
In ever increasing busy social media space, with more white noise than ever, do we really need content? Yes, darn right we do. If you want to be credible and trusted, don’t post nonsense – just take a walk, breathe in some air, take time to think. Then when you want to say something, take time to say something worthwhile.
It’s the only thing that can save you from descending into the abyss of pointless, chattering, white noise.
If you want to deliver effective social media, want to re-evaluate your digital content, or maybe need some help with creating some better content – get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!