Strategy, not stunts: The way forward in social media management

Pictures of fishing bait and lures

Courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

Lost in the recent news about changes to the Facebook news feed to favor people over brand pages (among other things), which continues to generate both panic and purposeful planning, was an announcement that anybody who cares about the social media ecosphere could support.

Facebook’s decision to devalue “engagement bait” is great news for all of us. Chances are, your feeds have had the weeds that include phrases like “tag a friend,” “share for a chance to win,” “life if you …” and other lazy substitutions for developing actually engaging content.

According to Nathan Mendenhall of Social Media Today, discouraged behaviors include:

  • Tag Baiting – Asking people to tag their friends.
  • Comment Baiting – Asking people to comment with specific answers (words, numbers, phrases, or emojis).
  • Vote Baiting – Asking people to vote using reactions, comments, sharing, or other means of representing a vote.
  • React Baiting – Asking people to react to the post (includes like, love, haha, wow, sad, and angry).
  • Share Baiting –  Asking people to share the post with their friends.

All of those represent desperate calls for attention more than anything contributing to social media community. They generate only noise.

Asking people to share a Facebook post should be part of something urgent. Looking for help to solve a crime? Absolutely. Trying to find a lost person (or dog or cat)? Totally. Trying to win a $10 gift certificate because sharing enters you into a contest? Get off my feed, already.

Mendenhall’s piece has also mentions video, a popular format on Facebook. The downside if its effectiveness is so much video that is trash … including video that is actually a static graphic or some kind of inspirational or funny quote that tries to game the system.

But Facebook is placing greater emphasis on video that matters. “Don’t make video for the hell of it,” Mendenhall notes. “If you want to get value out of your investment in social video, especially on Facebook, make content that people will want to watch and will come back to view more than once, or focus on episodic content to boost repeat viewership of your subsequent posts.”

Again, think of video as not just a thing to do, but as a medium that can tell a story in a compelling way. That’s how we should always think of our content.

Whatever the Facebook changes bring our way — and I’m sure I’ll be among those not pleased with all of them — one takeaway is to concentrate on quality content and on content strategy, which is what we should be doing the whole time. Taking away people who use stunts and shouting for attention is one positive development.

We can make a better Facebook — and social media experience — by concentrating on stories that matter and on delivering value to our audience. It’s a shame that a bunch of news feed changes have to remind us.

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