Social media, the white knight of small business marketing, giving us all the ability to spout endless content 24/7 at an admiring audience.
Wait, that’s not strictly true now is it?
It’s fair to say that the arrival of social media has created a new way for those of us running small businesses to build a following and share our content but as with all tools, it’s not what you’ve got but how you use it.
A report from Trackmaven considered the ‘content marketing paradox’ – businesses creating an increasing amount of media (up 35 per cent) but getting lower engagement (down 17 per cent). Twitter posts were up 60 per cent with Facebook up 31 per cent in 2015 compared to the previous year.
Interestingly though, as consumers we are giving up more of our busy lives to media content. On the train, in the coffee shop, in that dull meeting; we frequently find ourselves online for a quick media snack.
So why are we not engaging with that content?
Because much of it is just noise.
As a radio presenter, I appreciate the difference between sound that matters and just noise but as with small businesses beginning a content journey, it was not always that way.
In my early days on the radio I loved creating noise. I had the freedom on my shows to speak as often as I chose, whether I had something interesting to say or not!
When I listen back to those early shows I cringe.
Later in my career, and especially as a manager of on-air talent, I realised that the cliché ‘less is more’ is very true.
When you are creating media content for your business it’s not about the quantity – you don’t want to just add to the huge content rubbish pile (‘blandfill’ if you like) – quality is the key.
You know that to be true from your own experience. That book you started to read and then gave to the charity shop; Still Open All Hours; that article that promised you “ten ways to save money” but simply wanted to remove all the fun from your life!
Social media engagement can no longer be achieved through a scattergun approach; and not just because consumers don’t want that.
Social networks are following the lead of Google search by favouring the most useful – and engaging – content and punishing the promotional waffle.
Do a Google search for something and what comes top (after paid ads)? It’s usually content that you find valuable. Most of us click on one of the first few links.
Facebook has been moving that way in recent months too and both Twitter and Instagram are edging away from their ‘timeline’ approach towards relevant content. Instagram will prioritize posts that get the best engagement.
So please, remember this simple acronym for creating your content:
T.R.U.S.T (Targeted, Relevant, Useful, Shareable topics.)
Think carefully about what can help your target audience of current/future customers. Give them something they can use and share with others.
Create your content regularly and promote it well on your social media networks – but always ensure that you put quality over quantity.
Steve Randall is a broadcaster, podcaster, writer and media coach; helping businesses make better use of content for their marketing and staff-engagement. Find out more at mediameansbusiness.com