Over the weekend, our student paper The Oswegonian racked up an amazing 158 Shares (and counting) for a photo on its Facebook page. That includes 73 Shares through the SUNY Oswego Facebook page reposting it — with the repost scoring another 480 Likes.
What didn’t these posts do? They didn’t say “Like this page for a chance to win a prize” or “Share this page if …” Why? Because good content through a good channel speaks for itself. It makes it own friends and pathways.
Yet my Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of posts like “We’re giving a prize to our 1000th follower!” and “Become our 5000th fan to win a prize!” This is all stunt-based and has nothing to do with content. Also, if you’re one of the followers or fans who helped build the community’s success, how should you feel that some late joiner gets a prize for just showing up (and then may leave anyway)? You’re right, you should feel slighted and unappreciated. For that matter, many are running contests that don’t adhere to Facebook terms of service, which could get the effort shut down.
>> Back to this this weekend, what attracted that huge level of interest for The Oswegonian and SUNY Oswego? A photo of the Laker men’s hockey team celebrating beating Plattsburgh (our archrivals) to win the SUNYAC championship and a return ticket to the NCAA DIII Tournament. No, it’s not an image you can get every day. But …
… it also attracted that interest because it came via channels that have built their audience through content. People have stayed connected and even watch those Facebook pages for news because of years of providing useful, helpful content.
I’ve talked before about how you shouldn’t beg for likes. Contests for likes, while looking perhaps a bit less desperate, are short-term efforts … the long-term goal is having content strategy and a commitment to making yours a lively, engaging community.
If none of the above has convinced you yet, stop to equate a Facebook page with a personal relationship. You want your friends to like you because you’re an interesting person, right? Not because you have to bribe them for affection? Social media is the same way. You want to build a relationship with the members of your community. It should be based on much more than a stunt.
After all, providing useful, helpful content to your community on a regular basis is the REAL prize … the gift that keeps on giving.