Social media has become bloated. Every network has become a distribution channel, pushing content one tweet and post at a time. The essence of social media (conversation and communication) has all but faded away. It has become content that is full of “selfies” and promotional products. There are companies making billions of dollars on the backs of billions of users who supply billions of personal data each day. We spend an enormous amount of time on social media networks, zipping through tweets, looking at posts or simply lurking. Our average attention span is 8 seconds, down 4 seconds from 14 years ago. To put that in perspective, our attention span is less than a gnat and a goldfish!
What is it that holds our attention for those 8 seconds on a tweet, a post or a page? It is context. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary context is defined as: the words that are used with a certain word or phrase and that help to explain its meaning.The image, video, or message in that post or tweet affects you in some way – emotionally or cognitively. You can relate or understand the message immediately. It clicks. For example: a Vine video about a dog doing crazy tricks grabs your attention because you love animals or you have a dog and want it to do those tricks or even simply because it is funny. Because of context you are more apt to click the like button and share the message. Context is the story that adds relevancy to your message.
In order to provide context you must stop copying and pasting the same message in each social media platform. I belong to several groups and pages on Facebook and on a daily basis I will see protective services companies post the same image and link with a “Hey you buy my stuff” message in every group that they are a member. Doesn’t matter what the group is, just copy and paste and go to the next group. This is totally absurd to me. About only thing this practice does is hurt your credibility and brand. Sure the groups may be all related to protective services but that is an expansive profession but those groups are all very different. What content you post in a PSD group is not necessarily going to be for Corporate EP group. Supply the context for each group. Explain the why, the who and the what. Make it relevant and practical to each group. For example if you were to share upcoming training don’t just post a link. Share a testimonial, or an image of the training as it relates to the group members.
Understand the medium
Each social media network is very, very different even though they are starting to look and act the same. Images might work best on Facebook and Pinterest but to be successful you also have to understand the demographics in each medium. For instance Pinterest users are primarily women who are interested in purchasing or wanting a particular product where as Facebook is more for social interaction with friends, family and colleagues. So the images could be completely different.