There’s something seductive about the immediacy of social media that can cause intelligent people to publish the strangest things to their social media profiles. But of all the social media blunders a college or university can commit, the most common killer of social media success is organization-centric content.
None of us likes being around the person who dominates every conversation, talking on and on about themselves.
You and I would never act like this — and thankfully, most people that you meet aren’t like this.
But for some reason, the allure of social media can make even the best of us a little self-centered.
For example, when at a networking event, we normally seek to include others in the conversation. But on social media, we tend to go on rants that don’t encourage dialogue.
Or, if we meet someone for the first time in person, we talk about what interests them, instead of ourselves. But on social media, our followers normally receive an endless barrage of content talking about… well, us.
We post things about our goals, our vision, our successes, our latest new asset, or our latest new program. And while it’s all true and exciting for us as staff members…
This kind of organization-centric content is a silent killer that’s destroying your chances of social media success.
It’s not that we’re selfish, but organization-centric content shows that we’ve deeply misunderstood the social media platform, its nature, and its impact on the expectations of the audience.
The Social Media Platform
The social media platform is fundamentally different than the various other platforms marketers have been using for years to communicate to their audiences.
So when we bring to the social media platform our assumptions, best practices, and strategies from other platforms, it’s no wonder we don’t get the results that we’re looking for.
Social media success comes when you stop using it like a megaphone to blast your PR announcements.
Bringing your best strategies from print, television, and ad marketing to social media is like using a telephone the way you would a megaphone. These are two devices with similar technology and materials, but with fundamentally different purposes and designs.
The social media platform is designed for interaction, dialogue, and sharing.
Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn favor profiles that get a lot of conversation, likes, and shares going on their posts and limit the reach of profiles with low interaction.
Organization-centric content reduces the amount of shares and likes your content will get, which means the social design of the platform technology will work against you by limiting the organic reach of your posts.
The Nature of Social Media
On social media, it’s all about generosity. To make more “friends” or add more “followers,” you have to be seen as a brand that’s generous in time, content, and influence.
Being generous with time refers to the amount of time you spend answering questions and responding to comments. Believe me, the amount of time you spend on social media will show through in the quality and quantity of your posts and comments.
Being generous in your content means that you’re posting content that makes sense for your audience. It’s relevant and useful to them – answering the questions they have.
Being generous with your influence means that you promote or simply share your followers’ content with your audience.
Most social media platforms make it incredibly simple and quick to reshare posts and content while adding a few thoughts or comments from your brand on the content.
When we post organization-centric content, we’re not using our time, content, or influence for the benefit of our audience — and this positions your brand as lacking the generosity demanded by today’s social media users.
The Impact of Social Media
Organization-centric content ignores the impact social media has had on the audience. Years ago, before social media, simply blasting the audience with marketing messages was enough to produce the desired consumer behavior.
Not anymore. Social media has dramatically changed the way consumers receive marketing messages and make decisions on who’ll they trust.
For one, studies show that digital natives expect to have a two-way conversation with brands.
And two — they expect it quickly! Social media has affected our attention spans.
A study performed by Microsoft suggests that the average person in 2015 had an attention span of just 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. Yet another study shows that “53 percent of consumers expect to hear back within one hour whenever they tweet a brand.”
Finally, when it comes to marketing, consumers now have control over what they do and do not wish to see.
On social media, the platform itself filters out advertising the user has indicated that they don’t want to see. People can click away advertisements, unfollow, or unfriend you.
The consumer is almost in complete control when it comes to the brand-consumer relationship — which means they’ll block your content if it’s too organization-centric.
The Better Way
When you’re in a meeting with your college or university’s leadership team, I’m sure you hear this concern brought up frequently:
What’s best for our students?
And that makes sense because you’re working in higher education for their benefit, not yourself.
So if your organization’s reason for existing is to serve the interests of your audience, why send them anything — including free content or social media messages— that’s not in their interest?
Yes, there’s still a place for the old-fashioned public relations message and general announcements. From time to time, this organization-centric content should go in a social media post.
But if your social media feeds become PR channels rather than a robust conversation between you and your school brand’s followers, you’ll find it hard to grow your follower base or drive conversion.
To see social media success, stay true to who you are: A selfless organization that’s in it for the good of others.
Avoid the silent killer at all cost. Stay social. Be generous.
By the way, an outside, objective expert opinion can really help to see how well your social media efforts are doing. Contact us today for a free digital marketing audit!
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