Your job isn’t “Social Media Marketing” – it’s creating content

You know what marketers who come to social media always get wrong? They think the message is the message.

In fact, the content is the message.

Marketers bring their bad habits to social media when they try to use it to sell their wares. Old media – TV, radio, newspaper ads – are all one way. They are built for blasting messaging at people, with the hope that at least a fraction of them will ultimately buy something as a result.

On Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., people don’t have to listen to this. In fact, they rarely do. Here’s an example of a YouTube video I helped to produce that utterly failed:

The original idea had been to make something funny, something people would want to watch. Instead of making something that was all about ad copy, it would be, in and of itself, entertaining.

What we got wrong was that ultimately, the whole thing was still constructed to make you think about the company and their product. The fun stuff is diluted with messages about RVs and the company that rents them out.

Also, to be fair, it isn’t that funny either. The production value is pretty low, but that wouldn’t matter if it was laugh-out-loud hilarious. (And I freely admit it would have looked better if it had been built on a Mac.)

With this piece, we strayed from the thesis of creating content and instead created advertising. It is difficult to explain to a paying client why there’s a difference and how the former is far more important. This is also why so many companies get Facebook and Twitter wrong. Rather than share something people will be interested in and react to, they continue to post as if they’re making a classified ad:

Twitter advertising post

Here you see the company name, you get a link to what they’re all about, and who the hell cares? It doesn’t help that this was posted using the Twitter API – a delivery method of Tweets that screams, “I don’t care enough to write something on my own.”

I’d like to show you an example of a motor home seller that does Twitter right, but a quick search shows nothing but posts like this – self-promotion with no care for what people might actually retweet or even read.

So instead, let’s look at Dell. I love Dell for the way they use Twitter. They have multiple accounts, each with a different focus. Look at what they post on their Dell Lounge profile. They talk to people, they retweet articles NOT about them they find interesting, and they do not post links to pages with stuff they want people to buy.They provide QUALITY CONTENT.

That is what you need to give people if you want to make an impact in social media. Links to your page and self-aggrandizing stories don’t sway or interest anyone. If instead you want a win you can brag to your client or boss about, stop posting messages and start posting content.

One comment

  1. My favorite ads tell a great story that involves the product/company–not just about the product/company. That’s why Geico and E-Trade and Old Spice have done so well. They’ve created content (characters and quotes and spoof-able or relate-able things) that help to enjoy watching it.

    Content is what makes highly-rated TV shows and movies great. No one will want to see your ad if you don’t make it worth their while.

    Great post!

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