If class four of Digital Marketing made me want to climb under my chair, almost everything we covered in class five had me nodding vigorously to myself like a zealous undergrad at her first political rally.
Like class four, class five was on the subject of social media, and was taught by Tucker Schreiber. A member of Shopify’s growth team by day, Tucker is a thoughtful and knowledgeable instructor in the art of social media by night. (At least on Monday nights.)
The evening’s first lesson was that the point of social media is to share outstanding content.
Useful terms to keep in mind when contemplating this are “interruption marketing” vs. “permission marketing.”
I think of interruption marketing as anything that jumps out at you and tries to sell you something, from TV ads to billboards and banner ads.
Permission marketing, by contrast, is when an individual hands you the conch, perhaps by following you on social or by checking out your blog, and invites you to say something.
Now please forget I mentioned Lord of the Flies for a moment and think of yourself as a guest at a dinner party. Bringing something for your host, listening before you speak, and helping to foster an engaging conversation are good practices.
If you’re turning up empty-handed, cutting people off, and engaging in power struggles then you are probably being tiresome, and are unlikely to be invited back.
In other words, whether you’re socializing at someone’s house, online, or on an uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it’s a good idea to sing for your supper by being polite and sharing something interesting. The “something interesting” part is what Tucker referred to throughout the evening’s class as “outstanding content.”
Before we work ourselves into a frenzy trying to write “one true sentence” and then curl up in the fetal position, let’s look at what it means for content to be “outstanding” on social media. Tucker offered a useful set of criteria:
- It is native. It is organic, and belongs to the platform it lives on. (In other words, you are not posting a low-res photo or a 12,000-word academic paper on Instagram.)
- It does not interrupt the experience. It is not an ad, and should not feel like one.
- It doesn’t (usually) make demands. As a rule of thumb: “If it feels spammy when you’re writing it, it probably is.” I
- It is generous, informative, funny, inspiring, and human. You should plan to give, give, and give some more… before you expect to get something (i.e. a follower who is not in your immediate family) in return.
- It understands pop culture. Referring to what’s going on in the world is a way of identifying with your audience, and proving that you are not a robot.
- It is digestible and unique. You know what it is just by looking at it.
- It is consistent and self-aware. The voice and tone are recognizable, and aligned across all platforms.
So does outstanding content need to be Nobel Prize-worthy? Probably not. But you should put some elbow grease into it. If you don’t, you’re liable to have Truman Capote rise from the grave to dismiss your Tweets (as he allegedly dismissed the work of Jack Kerouac and the beats), as “not writing, just typing.” Or worse: not writing, just selecting emojis.
– Emma Knight, Director of Brand Development, Greenhouse Juice Co.