The key to creating quality social media content for your audience

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Social media, when done right, can be incredibly powerful. Social media, when done to look like it’s right, is a lot like throwing really little rocks at bears. Yes, you might hit the bear, but you’re not going to slay it.

Good social media is personal.

Have you ever driven by a billboard and thought, “that billboard is speaking directly to me?

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Probably not. That’s because social media marketing is not the same as billboard marketing. It’s not a slogan plastered in a high visibility spot. Social media marketing is more like water cooler talk.

Now, you can certainly sell someone on something around the water cooler, but it all starts with the conversation; the needs analysis.

The wrong type of advertising

One day I was in line at a local market with my son. He was wearing a product called “mimittens”, long-armed mittens that actually stay on a toddlers arms. The people behind me were struggling with their child’s mittens so I told and showed them what mimittens were and told them where they could purchase them.

That is word of mouth marketing: finding a need and speaking to it.

Now if I popped my son up on my shoulders and walked around the market with his hands in the air, yelling “OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THESE MITTENS!“, that would be billboard advertising.

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So many brands think that yelling at people on the internet is social media marketing. They think that by yelling at enough people, they’re bound to find someone that might buy their stuff.

But how do you gain entry into those conversations in the first place?

Become one with your audience

The key to social media marketing is listening, period.

Too many brands are shouting and yelling and whispering and screaming without ever listening to what anyone actually has to say.

If you want to know what people who are interested in high end gym memberships want, you’d better hang out where those conversations are happening. You should be following brands that are doing well in that industry, brands that are doing poorly in that industry, and the people that are engaging with both.

You will often hear people talking about the hard work behind building a social media community.

It is hard.

Building a social media community, a community around your product, is hard because you’re trying to bend people to your will. You’re trying to involve them in conversations that they’re honestly not that interested in having, at least not in the beginning.

So cheat. Hijack the community.

I’m not talking about some nefarious marketing plot. You don’t have to be sneaky about it. There’s a conversation happening, so find it. Join it.

But you can’t be casual about it. You can’t just pretend that you’re interested, actually be interested.

You can’t walk up to a group of people that are talking about bitcoin and start talking to them about bitcoin when you don’t know a damn thing about bitcoin.

Why? Because lying on social media goes poorly. Sure, you might be interested in joining the conversation, but you can’t fake it.

So how do you join those conversations? Ask questions — lots of them.

So many brands are focused on showing everyone that they know everything about everything. But they don’t.

Social media done right doesn’t look like you’re having conversations.

It doesn’t look like you’re posting quality content.

It doesn’t look like you are a part of the community.

You either are or you’re not. Period.

And if you’re not, and you’re trying to pretend that you are, there are billions of people on the internet who will call you on your bluff.

So how do you ensure that you’re not doing this?

  1. Don’t post “just because”: If you don’t have anything to say worthwhile, spend your time listening and learning.
  2. Don’t “bandwagon”: Don’t tag along with the whims of the internet. Those winds will change and if you don’t have a reason for your opinion, you’ll get found out.
  3. Read the feed: If you are posting on any platform without paying attention to what your customers and competitors are saying on that platform, you’re doing it wrong.

Social media is word of mouth marketing, at scale. Your deeds, both good and bad, will be amplified so take the time to do it right. It’s hard, but remember that quality over quantity, every single time.

Have any tips for creating good social media? Let’s chat in the comments below.

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About Mike Tanner

Mike Tanner is a stay-at-home father of two, creative agency founder at OneRedCat, and coach & consultant with Really Little Wins. He’s a regular contributor to Hustle & Grind, Yummy Mummy Club and CBC, is a board game enthusiast, and his first non-fiction book, Really Little Wins, will be available soon.

Also, make sure to check out Mike’s weekly podcast, Riding In Cars with Cats, where he talks all things entrepreneurship.

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