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You are not a content machine

Never Stop Writing Cartoon - The Anti-Social Media

Social media takes content. Billions of pieces of content. An endless army of content enchanting mythical audiences dying to hear from another brand.

Or so we’re told by social media experts.

To do social media right, you need the creative chops to create dynamic and entertaining writing and visuals. That isn’t easy. It takes time and an aptitude that is foreign to many of us.

Now do that daily, or maybe multiple times a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

What your audience wants

Before you go posting all willy-nilly, ask yourself, do you know what your  followers want to hear on a daily basis?

In the early days of social media, there was the theory that if you build the social media channel, they will come. If you started a social channel, a Facebook page or a Twitter, people would just show up and follow you. Your content didn’t matter that much.

That strategy worked for maybe a day or two. Then people’s news feeds became cluttered with pictures of pets, babies, George Takei and poorly targeted advertisements.

Now, when a person or a brand is social, you need to have something to say that is informative, emotionally powerful, or entertaining. Even better if you can be all three at once.

Ask yourself, ”What does my audience want?” If you don’t know, ask. It’s social media. Someone is bound to answer, even if it’s a spam bot offering you a free iPad.

Once you know what they want, then you can start creating content that will be meaningful for them.

Doing content right

There are three factors that make great social media content:

  • Quality – Nowhere in the history of humanity has anyone said, “Gee! I want more brand messages on my social networks.” I’m not saying you can get away with posting every six months, but if you don’t have something meaningful to say on Tuesday, don’t feel the need to fill the void with bland dribble and a trackable link.
  • Entertaining – when you think social media, what brands come to mind? The brands and people we praise most on social media entertain and delight us. We share their stories because they’re fun. Find ways to make your content entertaining and it will go far.
  • Information- Let’s face it. Not all of us can work for sexy brands that make people laugh. We have business goals to meet. Customers to educate. Complaints to answer. When you can’t be funny, find a way to share useful information.

Those three things are hard. Most people don’t have something quality to say about themselves daily, let alone their company.

Take your time and do it right. No one says it has to be perfect. No one says it will go viral. But if you take the time to write it it, write it well.

Moving Beyond Mass-Produced Content

There is no point in sharing content for content’s sake.

You’re not a machine. You don’t just churn out a great post every day, let alone seven of them. This is hard work. Maybe not back-breaking labor, but more than most of us dedicate to a social media post.

Once you get beyond the myth of endless content, you find more meaningful things to share. You don’t stress over having a “minimum” number of tweets per day.

You find the stories worth telling. You delight and enchant your customers. You create something that has meaning beyond a Facebook post.

And that’s where the true beauty of social media takes place.

6 Responses to You are not a content machine

  1. Evan B. July 16, 2013 at 12:30 am #

    Seven seems like a much more reasonable request than the “40 articles per day” job posting I encountered the other day on Elance. Yet again, in the description they upped it to 50. I sincerely hope they were expecting to bring on more than one writer, but that detail was nowhere to be found.

    • Jay July 16, 2013 at 7:30 am #

      40 articles per day? Does that mean 40 blog posts?

      That is insane. Someone is smoking crack.

  2. Camilo Olea July 16, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    Wait, do you mean we have been lied to by all the gurus that say you have to post daily? My life is meaningless now. :(

    Seriously, good post. I agree, posting just to meet a schedule is surely going to produce a lot of crap.

    • Jay July 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Nothing like crap on a schedule.

      • Evan B. July 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

        That’s unsanitary,

        • Jay July 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

          Call the health department!