Sharing is about expanding social influence, but it’s also about discovering meaning.
One of the persistent myths I find prevalent in social media marketing is the myth of “constant posts.” Everyone has that friend on Facebook who is posting four times as many items as anyone cares to look at, let alone Like, Comment or Share. The effectiveness of these posts is inversely proportional to their frequency. Common audience responses include “Ignore” or “Unfollow.” Unfortunately, many business pages with significant audiences and Paid Reach are falling into a similar trap.
It’s Only A Little Less Lonely In The Outpost
In order to create a useful metaphor, let’s imagine a Facebook Business Page that is consistently posting ‘display’ content (content that doesn’t transport the viewer or “take the viewer anywhere”) as a “Remote Outpost” of civilization. Sadly, its closest relative is the Facebook “Ghost Town” Page, a Page that, after some kind of attempt at regular posts – usually one to three months, has been utterly abandon.
As these Page types relate to physical retailers, the message I get from a Facebook “Outpost” Page is: “Yes, someone is still minding the store.” When my horse needs hay, I can still reliably buy hay. That’s a lot better than the message the “Ghost Town” Page sends your audience: That the twenty mile hike to the Tack Shop may result in no hay at all. However, in the case of the “Outpost” Page, maintaining a regimen of regular posts is still a lot of effort to throw at something that is the social media equivalent of the glowing orange “OPEN” sign that hangs in every U.S. shop window from Walla Walla, Washington to The Florida Keys.
If your Facebook Page is selling a product or service that exists exclusively online or as a B2B service, the “Outpost” Page conveys you have no grasp of how your natural habitat works. The “Ghost Town” Page conveys that you no longer exist.
Disneyland: A Class Of Its Own
There needs to be a third content option, and there is. It’s the “Disneyland” Page, and it exists in a class of its own. While Disneyland is immense in scale, this is not the primary attribute I am referring to. Nothing exists in Disneyland that has not been realized to its fullest potential. Disneyland represents a Xanadu of totally realized ideas. Since its (much smaller) inception, that has been Disneyland’s true mark of distinction and what sets it apart from other experiences.
Think of your Facebook Page as a potential playground of experience and learning for your MOST engaged audience. It’s not important that it has lots of stuff, what’s most important is that everything a viewer finds there is a further exploration into the world your business inhabits. Build your Page with the best content capable of capturing the imagination of your most discerning client, and, like Disneyland, you will capture the minds of the entire spectrum of your audience.
Great Accomplishments Begin Small
If you have ever had the experience of coming across a single article or image that resonates so completely that it is stored permanently in your memory, then you can visualize how to begin building your own temple to your field of expertise on Facebook and in blog posts with only a few pieces of really excellent content.
This is why I am a strong advocate of what I refer to as “Blockbuster Content.” Periodic releases of content that seeks to expand the experience and understanding of your audience is not just a noble pursuit. The dignity and care you give your content directly reflects how your audience perceives you perceive them. By making really great content, you gain some of the best social proof social media can provide: You prove that you are unwilling to waste your audience’s valuable attention and time with content that shows no significant effort or care. Great content literally flatters your audiences’ minds.
“Hot or Not” Is Not Hot
If you are familiar with how millennials detest value judgments based exclusively upon superficial criteria (read “pretty” or “looks”), you will not be surprised to know that the complementing of one’s intelligence and imagination creates the opposite effect among that audience. Appearance is still important, although emphasis has shifted from sheer attractiveness (what I refer to as ‘display’ attributes) towards the general manner and look of “presentation.”
In the current phase of “consumer evolution,” today’s public places far less importance on ‘display’ attributes. As a social group, we now give much greater weight to expanded experience; expanded understanding; and sharing these new discoveries in a way that expands community (and, let’s be real, social preeminence). In many ways, as consumers we have become ‘consciousness tourists.’
The bar for content has simply been elevated across the board. If you are over 40, think of the media environment of 2017 as the natural habitat of the your most savvy client circa 1997 — except that the majority of your clients have expectations like that now. The expectation that businesses will (or at least should) deliver this level of content is so embedded in the mind and experience of the public at this point that even the audience segment that is NOT going to explore your high-value content will sense your lack of commitment.
If “Shareworthiness” is the most important distinction in social media effectiveness, there now exists two classes of online content: Shareworthy and Not Shareworthy. No one is going to miss the filler content you didn’t post.
Writer’s Note: There are two types of social feeds that fall somewhere between “Blockbuster Content” and a low grade ‘display’ stream that came to mind while writing this piece. The first is the feed dedicated to an ongoing narrative. The second that lies between these two content extremes is the the feed dedicated to the posting and display of new (and surprising) inventory. Both of these feed types have merits and drawbacks of their own that I may examine in later posts.
Terms not in common usage in this article include: Display Content, Outpost Page, Ghost Town Page, Disneyland Page, Blockbuster Content, Media Environment, Consumer Evolution, Shareworthy. If you would like further explanation of their meaning please make your request in Comments. Thank you for reading.