In this new social media world, you simply cannot create great content without RISK.
Here’s the problem: on social, you’re not just competing against competitors for your customer’s attention.
You’re now competing against absolutely anyone and every thing that has the ability to create content.
Facebook’s algorithm does not care one bit what you think of your content.
Facebook’s algorithm does care what your audience thinks of the content.
If the audience isn’t sharing, commenting, and liking it, they’ll show them someone else’s content because they want them to enjoy their time on Facebook – not be bored by your boring, self-serving posts.
And all the other platforms are following suit.
This means your company’s social posts have to go toe-to-toe with highlights of everyone’s favourite sports teams, scantily-clad fitness models, hilarious Jimmy Fallon clips, seemingly-millions of vloggers, delicious Tasty recipes, stand-up comics, painful fail compilations, or the endless drove of wild news that this world generates.
If you can’t go shot-for-shot with this kind of content, your only hope is to try and force people to watch your content through ads – and that just kinda sucks the life and good equity you get out of great social content.
Now, I believe Facebook is still the absolute BEST advertising platform out there (when you actually do it right) because it’s still so under-utilized, but ads are very different than real, fun, shareable, conversation-starting social media content.
Look at what Nike did this week with Colin Kaepernick – whatever side you land on that argument, their brand was front-and-centre in an INSANE amount of conversations on social.
Look at Wendy’s USA Twitter account which has been featured so many times across the internet and built almost 3 million loyal, engaged followers. Then compare it with Wendy’s Canada which is sooo boooooring.
Look at dbrand which entered the MASSIVELY over-saturated world of phone cases and wraps and has been DOMINATING. All because of hilarious – at times, offensive – personality online. I bought 4 wraps from them without needing any because I loved their Twitter account and then found out they have some cool products.
Look at the last Blockbuster – yes THAT Blockbuster where you can still go in and rent movies. It’s defying all the odds, largely because of it’s hilarious online persona.
Locally, the companies we see CRUSHING IT with their communities win because they decided who they are, they be that unabashedly, and their followers LOVE it. It’s not about this insane, high-end production – it’s just authentic and FUN, chalked full of personality.
The interesting thing about all of these examples is that they all get “in trouble” at times because they are pushing the envelope.
That’s the reason that they are winning: safe content is almost always boring content.
And there is SO MUCH good content coming by the minute on social media that if a consumer decides whether they want to watch your safe, boring piece of content – OR a different, exciting, fun, interesting piece of content, which do you think they’ll choose?
And when they decide not to watch, comment, like, or share your piece of content, all of the social platforms go, “Hey, no one is really interested in your content so we’re not going to show it to many people.”
And now you are either wasting your time creating it or you have to pay to try to force people to watch it.
Creating good content is, sooner or later, going to cost you something and make a bit of a mess. That just comes with the territory.
Unfortunately, we went through a time where everyone was clamouring to have “beautiful”, “high-production” content – which I still happen to love and believe in – but as people are growing increasingly tired of perfect Instagram influencers or the lack of transparency and authenticity in corporations, there’s a new trend: simple, real content.
How to Create Great Content
1. Be Quirky
Thankfully, I think we’re starting to finally slip back out of the clean, post-modern, sans-serif, minimalistic style that dominated branding for the last chunk of years.
While it was clean and refreshing coming from a season of monster-truck ads, it didn’t leave as much room for personality as everyone crowded in around it.
And this needs to be shed immediately if it’s lingering in your social. And I’m not talking about the title card at the beginning of your video – I’m talking about you and your business showing the world that you are not clean and minimalistic, void of personality.
Any business that has people working it is quirky. Because people are quirky. And typically there’s a culture in a business that is quirky. The way you interact with each other is quirky.
Find all the parts where you’re “rough around the edges” and share those things with the world in a fun, entertaining, helpful way. Because, while those rough edges might rub some people the wrong way, they also create a much better surface for your real customers to stick to.
Ever tried to glue something to a perfectly polished piece of glass? It just doesn’t stick. (Ok, I actually have no idea because I’m not that handy, but I hope you get the point.)
2. Try a TON of Stuff
Henry Ford is credited with the quote, “If I had asked people what they want, they would’ve said faster horses.”
The thing about social is neither you nor your audience actually knows what they want until they see it. We’ve had numerous times where we thought, “This video is going to CRUSH!”, only to have it fall flat. Other times, we’ve thought, “This is lame, let’s not put it out there.” and then that piece of content CRUSHES.
The more you try a bunch of different stuff, the more you learn what’s actually working. The likes, comments, shares, and views are a really easy way to tell.
Then, once you find something that really works, pivot and try new things because those things will stop working.
Recognize you will never, ever, ever arrive at a strategy that works – it’ll always move because social is always changing. You have to be experimenting and adapting constantly.
3. Give More Than You Take
People are not on social to be advertised to. Sure, there’s ads, but it’s the content that makes it worth being surrounded by ads.
You want to be the content people are after – not the ads they have to suffer through to be there.
In order to do that, you need to make people’s lives better for having seen/watched your content – NOT for having seen/watched your content then having purchased your product or service.
In social, the content IS the product.
When people enjoy seeing, watching, and interacting with your content, you’ve arrived at building your community and brand champions.
If you do that while being true to who you are as a business/company/organization, you won’t lack for attention.