Social Media is Torture

10. April 2016

“When you are satisfied with your copy cut it down by a third,” is the second most important copywriter’s rule. And now the hype of the first social media years has calmed down in companies it is classics like this that digital experts are increasingly falling back on.

Firstly, on the basis of experience that it does require good skills to reach your target group. (Entrusting student temps with the upkeep of your social media channels may have sounded clever at the start – they are cheap and hey, they are after all digital natives who live it  – but now more and more communications officers are realising it is not enough to post hashtags and banalities.)

Secondly, word has got out that it is not just Google that is constantly improving its algorithm but that Facebook and YouTube now also only show and recommend content in a very selective manner.

NewsNo one knows the secret rules of search engines and networks in detail but they themselves always recommend the “best possible user experience” to get a good ranking.

And this is exactly what you don’t get when you produce as much content as possible, as briefings we unfortunately sometimes still receive recommend: “Two posts a day on Instagram, five a week on Facebook.” The purported recipe: more is more.

The problem with this strategy is there are others that produce considerably more content. For instance, Britain’s Daily Mail posts 1000 articles daily online. So you will not manage to produce the most content.

Instead you should attach importance to quality because the most important currency on the net are user signals. If users immediately leave your blog entry once they have clicked it on Google results (pogo-sticking), if they already stop your YouTube video very quickly (short watch time) or do not react to your Facebook post (lack of engagement) you have a content problem. This content does not seem to be relevant enough for users. So Google ranks your page lower, YouTube hides your video on back pages and Facebook does not even show your post any more.

“We wish you a lovely weekend”. “Happy Easter”. “Have fun in the lovely weather”. Interchangeable content not only bores users and fails to generate any interaction but also degrades your page ranking by Facebook. Take into consideration that every ill-considered post that goes down badly with fans means your next copy, video or pictures will get less coverage on the network. To achieve reach you need active fans (see article on this).

So: to be more successful cut your editorial plan by a third! Content that does not excite should be cut out. Concentrate on quality content. A posting with great relevance can achieve greater reach than ten ill-considered posts on the same page.

But how does quality arise? Through a deep-rooted understanding of the target group. What do your fans, users – customers want? What content combines the wishes of your target group with your range? And what exciting story can you tell using images, videos and cliff-hangers?

Take the most clicked video, the most read blog entry or the Facebook post with the best interaction and try to exceed it. Every time. Over and over.

Does this sound tiring? Well it is. But think about the most important copywriter’s rule formulated by Henri Nannen: “One of the two has to be tortured – either the author or the reader.”

André Karkalis is Managing Director at KARKALIS COMMUNICATIONS. Sometimes he writes about topics that move him. Generally, from his armchair in the agency kitchen. This is where his Kitchen Post is created.


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