Article of the Month: A better diet for the social media beast

This article from The Content Technologist is one of the best pieces I’ve ever read about the content churn of social media, and the way so many businesses and organisations are reliant on a tactic that stopped working years ago. Some choice quotes:

Until that algorithm change [Facebook’s in 2018], social media was a return-on-content-investment paradise. Brands and media companies were raking in traffic and attention from social channels (not that they necessarily knew how to monetize it), and the novelty of easy publishing had everyone’s eyes gleaming with dollar signs.

The prevailing 2010s digital content strategy for both SEO and social was quantity over quality, low-cost ads, low-cost content from eager, digitally savvy writers. The more often you post, the more algorithms see your content, the more people click, the more traffic you get, the more money you make.

Media brands and marketers alike have yet to get out of the habit of throwing dollars at “feeding the beast,” chasing real-time trends instead of long-term business.

The numbers show that consistent quality wins consistently, and that it’s more sustainable when it’s created by smaller teams at slower paces.

I’ve been looking at content performance analytics for nearly a decade, and I can safely advise: chum is the hardest, most expensive way to build a creative business or content marketing effort. Burning out by posting multiple times daily wastes everyone’s time.

The author, Deborah Carver, goes on to outline strategies that actually do work – quality over quantity, consistent posting that’s focused on the needs of the engaged audience, a long-term rather than short-term approach. This article is an umissable read, and also should definitely be shared with anyone in your organisation who is pushing for a tactical (e.g., “post every day”) approach over a strategic one (e.g., “define goals for each channel and measure progress towards them”).

The recommendations here line up exactly with a method that I have used with multiple non-profits for Facebook and Instagram: stop using these channels as daily bulletin boards, and instead use them just for sharing impact stories that grow your engaged audience. Once that audience is of a decent size, you can start sending them asks more directly through ads. (I spoke about this method in a webinar for the We Act campaign last year and that’s available to watch back online for anyone who’s interested.)

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