Content is a Fricking Crapshoot

We have all been there. We post what we think is entertaining and useful on one of our social media channels and all we hear is crickets. Even though we have followed all the supposed “rules,” included engaging graphics and trending keywords, no one seems interested. We garner no likes, shares or comments and we are left wondering, why?

Likewise, we then post something that we think is less engaging or interesting; maybe the graphic isn’t as dynamic or the story as powerful, but we get 30,000 likes, and a page of comments. And there we are scratching our heads, wondering what made one better than the other.

No matter what all the books and podcasts on the market say, content is a fricking crapshoot. What are so many of us missing that could make what we post more successful?

The first thing we should probably look at is the difference between content marketing and social media.

Michael Brenner recently clarified the differences by sayings that content marketing and storytelling are as old as human beings. We have always needed to find ways to share important information in useful and entertaining ways. Social media is just the latest evolution in the way we tell stories.

Jay Baer has a different take on the differences between the two stating that content marketing is a device used by companies to educate, inform or entertain customers or prospects by creating attention or causing behavior that results in leads, sales or advocacy, while social media is used by customers and prospects to communicate among themselves and only occasionally with companies. He goes on to say, “ The goals of content marketing are consumption, then behavior. The goals of social media are participation, then behavior.”

It comes down to a couple of things. First, who is your audience? Do you really know? Even pros like us, who have done targeting for a multitude of businesses, sometimes have trouble focusing on one audience. Make sure that you keep in mind simple things like geographic area, male vs. female, entrepreneur vs. housewife. These specifications can change your target market drastically and can create a shift in your analytics.

Are you asking the audience to respond? Sometimes one of the easiest ways to get responses is to ask for it. Remember, social media is extremely, well, social. Just asking for a share or a like can engage a much broader audience.

Watch sites that you like and learn from what they are doing. Coke has some amazing graphics and Oreo has clever posts. Putting more time into doing the types of things that popular sites are doing may increase your engagement. Keep the look and the color of your site in mind as you look at your posts with a critical eye. Try to look at it as though you didn’t create it.

There are many books on the market that promise to tell you step by step how to share your information in social media. You may have read some of them. Some show you what to do, others show you what not to do but content, no matter if in blog form, audio, visual or in social media still has one basic purpose. To tell your story, and no one can tell your story as well as you can.