In traditional media there is an old phrase you may have heard: ‘If it bleeds, it leads.’
Tabloids, television news and even broadsheets know that if they post a story involving death, gore and general maiming, then they’re going to sell more copies or retain more viewers.
The values of the brand get thrown under a bus in exchange for higher ratings.
Social media, it seems, isn’t immune to this kind of selling out, though it is of a far less macabre, far more furry variety, one that deserves it’s own adage. It goes a little something like this:
‘If it’s a cat, post that.’
Everyone loves a Lolcat. Or dog. Or sloth. There are any number of cute creatures that will make the internet weak with joy at the very mention. I’m not disputing the power of ‘awww’. What I am disputing is their place in your content schedule.
Let me put this as clearly as possible: if your brand isn’t involved with cats, if it doesn’t sell cat food, or find homes for rescued cats or provide any number of other cat-based services, then you have no business posting cat pictures on your brand page.
I know they’re good for engagement. I know people like them. But there are websites for that. There are dedicated Facebook pages. Yours is not one of them.
Good social content has two very important ingredients: value, and relevance.
If you can create content that is valuable to your fans, relevant to your brand and your fans’ interests – and you can present it in a compelling way – then you will have a highly engaged, highly active community.
Pander to cat meme culture and sure you might get a few likes, you may even get a few shares, but what you won’t get is affinity. You won’t create community.
Think about why your fans are your fans. A 2011 study showed that 58% of your Facebook fans clicked Like because they are already a customer.
These are people who already buy into what you do. They want to connect with your brand. They want value. They can get cat pictures from their friends – what they want from you is insight, expertise, information and inspiration.
And why do you want to provide it? Because the same study showed that 56% of fans are more likely to recommend your brand after becoming a fan. Your raison d’etre should be to give them the tools to do that.
Give them great, informative, sharable content. Provide tips, tricks and hacks within your field of expertise. Make them fun, visual and engaging.
Facebook is not an experiment. Twitter is not a test. You can’t just ‘dip a toe in the water’ and expect not to lose a leg. If you don’t have a solid content strategy, you need one. And fast.
Think of it this way: your Facebook page is a magazine. Have a serious look at the posts on your Timeline. Is that a magazine that is relevant to your industry? Is that a magazine you’d read?
If the answer is no, find someone who knows how to optimise content for social media.
The value of relevant social content is conversation, and the value of conversation is return on investment.
For the sake of a few likes on a cat picture, is that a value you can afford to miss?