“Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”
Those were the wise words of President Abraham Lincoln and I am yet to find a more fitting historical quote that can be applied to social media activity.
What is this obsession for so many people and brands to always be on broadcast mode? It sometimes feels like the online equivalent of walking around a public place and constantly shouting out anything that pops into their minds. Moments of silence is often the smarter route as quantity does not result in quality…far from it.
A daily onslaught of meaningless and trite posts is likely to yield the same results as stepping out into the street and shouting at traffic. So let’s inject some real-world thinking into our social media content…
Have a look at your last five posts or tweets. Consider what sort of response you might get if you stood outside your office and shouted them or stopped a group of your customers and said them face to face.
Telling strangers how nice that soup was, or who you are rooting for in Strictly Celebrity Baking On Ice probably won’t have them following you around for the rest of the day hoping to hear more.
So what are your next five posts or tweets going to be about?
If you can already answer that then you probably have some sort of social media content plan in operation, and to you I tip my hat.
If you are not sure then take your foot off the gas and put some time aside to start a content plan as it really will be time well spent.
You need to be driving your social media activity in a way that moves your business on by attracting new customers and helping to retain the existing ones. You will drive your social media activity off a cliff if you do not operate to a plan. This risk is also compounded if you try to take on too much activity across too many different platforms. Having links on your website to 6 different social media accounts does not work if only Facebook gets updated while Pinterest, Google+ and Vine are withering on the…erm…vine.
Be brutally honest and assess your available time and resources. What can you (or your team) definitely commit time to do, and enough time to do really well?
If you only have time to manage a Twitter account really well then just plan to do that. If you can manage a fortnightly blog article and a Facebook page really well then just do those.
Planning your activity does not need to be an arduous task. A couple of hours each month to keep the plan up to date is all that is required and it will save you time! You will approach your accounts on any given day with an idea about what you will be posting and why you are doing it. You will also realise that it is OK to have days where nothing is planned!
I know, controversial, but I see no problem with an account being quiet for a day or two if a regular enough pattern of compelling content persists. Better to have a quiet day than a day where you have rushed the posting of a pointless update about how nice the sunshine is or what a great film you saw last night.
In general I recommend pulling together a 3 month rolling content plan. Based on multiple client experience I have found that this period of time remains manageable and most businesses can plan content based around events or initiatives that are known to be occurring over a 12 week period.
You should be able to look at a calendar and pick out events that will be happening in your company, industry or marketplace that will inspire content to be created and campaigns to be planned.
An ‘internal’ event might be the launch of a new product or service, or your attendance at a trade show or conference. Industry events could be a change in government legislation that requires new information to be passed on. Marketplace events would be things that mean your existing and potential customers might start to adopt a new pattern of behaviour or a seasonal pattern of activity might be coming in to play. For example, if you are a retailer/manufacturer of gifts or toys then the build up to Christmas is likely to be important to you, but so too is Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween etc.
Such a plan doesn’t have to be confined to social media. Start to add in your email newsletter content, Google AdWords campaigns and website homepage updates. Pretty soon you will have yourself a nifty digital marketing content plan…and it can all be powered by a simple spreadsheet.
Right, that’s me done for now. I’m off to stare at pictures of cakes on Instagram…for some reason?