A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to participate in a ‘social media for non-profits’ course. It was very useful, though ironically, marketed wrong, as the speaker talked mainly about internet marketing and only briefly touched on social media. Which was fine as I learnt quite a lot, and now have something to write about in my blog-huzzah!
One of the main things I took issue with in this course was the speaker’s opinion of content on social media. He was looking at it from a marketing stand point and stated that what you put on your SM feeds doesn’t matter as long as you’re putting something on there, and that engagement on SM is a false metric unless its getting people to your website (which is a whole other blog about social media goals which I will hopefully be writing soon-stay tuned!). Obviously, I disagree with this statement. As a social media manager and someone who has spent a lot of time in the informal education world, I believe that content is an incredible important tool that has the power to inform and engage people.
While I can’t tell you what to write to achieve this power, I can tell you how important it is to present your content properly. So often people treat social media, especially Twitter, like old school texting and don’t bother to use proper grammar and punctuation, let alone spelling. In this time and age with the technology we have, that is just ridiculous. I literally just had Microsoft Word auto-correct a word for me while writing this, so there is definitely no excuse for mis-spellings. Now nobody is perfect, and mistakes do happen (when I was proof reading this I found a “your” instead of a “you’re,” can you imagine the comments?!) but that’s why you take a half second before hitting “post” and scan over it. And if your brain skips over something like mine does every once and a while, there is the edit button (except on Twitter…sigh). Follow up on your posts, check for issues, make sure the links work and the photo didn’t go all funky and fix what you have to fix. The internet is forever so let’s make sure what we put out there looks as good as possible.
As for creating engaging content that someone will want to stop and read? That’s on you. The more you know about the subject matter, the easier it is to write something interesting about it (which is why I can write Whale Tales posts quickly, it’s a vernacular that I have been around for almost 20 years) but Google is your friend and if you don’t know what you are writing about, learn it and then tell your followers about what you learnt. As everyone’s favourite president, Jed Bartlet, once said “Education is the silver bullet” so educate. Know your facts and spread the word. Try not to be ‘click-baitey’ and know that somewhere out there someone probably disagrees with you. Focus on the people who want to learn, not the one refusing to (learn more about why people often refuse to change their minds with this great and fascinating Oatmeal post ). You’ve done all you can do with your content and now its loose in the world. If you and it are fully prepared there is nothing more to be done.
Without a follow up survey for every person who ever liked one of your posts to see if it changed their world or they just liked it to support you while scrolling through your news feed, you will never know the full impact of your social media content. But if you act like your content is important enough for the world to know about it will be.
So, go forth my friends and write some amazing, engaging and inspiring content! And don’t forget your commas!