I’ve seen some pretty interesting approaches to social media over the last few years. Today I want to look at two of the most common errors and why they don’t going to work. People have a tendency to take workflows out of the industry they come from and try to apply them to social media. It’s a little scary how little thought is put into this medium.
Treating SM platforms like publishing platforms is a common mistake. After all, you’re producing content for the masses right? They’re reading and consuming the written word, albeit in smaller doses. So that means that all the standards of the magazine industry apply. Content pillars and themes, tons of preparation, research for every article and rigid guidelines to help the team through their daily writing chores.
This doesn’t work for one very important reason : control. Unfortunately (for the ex magazine editor), social media is not just about producing top notch content. It’s about conversations. It’s about providing content that suits the community at that very moment. That means it’s incredibly contextual and relevant. It also means that while you can have loose guidelines, you will want to try and keep your content as agile as possible. You must be able to change your theme for the day with a moments notice. The benefit of using live web platforms is that your feedback is immediate, which means your content strategies can be dynamic. They can grow and change with your community. This boils down to letting go of control. For the most part, your community will dictate.
The other side of the coin is the web developer. The web developer sees the platform as just another web site. So the concentration is on unique page views, likes, followers and interactions. It’s all a numbers game. Media will be a huge driving force to growing the community, content will be secondary.
The issue here is obvious. Once again we are ignoring the human factor. While likes and follows are great metrics to show the client, they have very little to do with the overall health of a community. It’s like growing the population of a small country. Is it sustainable? Is the community happy? Are you bolstering your community drop offs with more media to fill the gaps? Numbers are not enough. You need to be checking your communities sentiment with regular polls. Are they keen to participate? What’s the interaction like? What are the concerns? Do you have any influencers?
The best approach is of course a happy medium between the two. Yes, content is king, but keep it dynamic. Yes, numbers are important, but you’re dealing with human beings. Just because you’re in marketing, doesn’t mean you don’t have to care.