Let’s face it – very few of our thoughts are really our own, unique, thoughts. The essence of human interaction is to share knowledge and develop each other’s ideas, so whatever I write in this blog someone else probably can claim as their original words. (They’re probably right because this blog is inspired by quite a few conversations I’ve had recently.) So should we stop writing? No, certainly not!
Just make sure that the content you present is something you truly believe in.
Taking a presentation training a few years ago, I learnt that to give a good presentation you must have a right to speak about the topic. Basically, you have to know and believe in the content you deliver, or the audience will lose interest. Simply because it’s extremely hard to be interesting if you don’t know what you’re talking about. The same is valid in social media.
Most companies turn to social media in an attempt to build a relation with clients and to keep a continuous social conversation going. But what if the company doesn’t have enough content? If there is not enough things they think they have a right to talk about? The risk is that the company’s feed turns into an endless product promotion – true, but boring. Hardly an inspiring way to build a relation.
To avoid this trap, let’s go back to the goal: Build a relation. A relation needs nurturing and a human touch, but it doesn’t necessarily require unique content. Seriously, when did you last discuss a completely new topic with your friends?
Basically there are two options for companies lacking content:
- Don’t talk so often. Post only when there is interesting news to share and accept the lower frequency of posts, accept a lower follower base, and accept lower engagement. You will most likely still attract the true believers in your brand, but it will be harder to find new friends.
- Take a content-marketing approach and talk about things bigger than the company’s offering. Surely, the company must have more knowledge and more ideas than what’s presented in the portfolio section of the company home page? Add to that some inspiration from partner companies, industry gurus, customers, or even competitors, and the feed should be rather easy to fill.
Choosing the content-marketing route does present some challenges as it requires a rather high level of engagement by the company, but there is more to win. The company will position itself as an interesting, knowledgeable party in the industry. Employees’ knowledge can be lifted and a human voice developed. And good news is that there is no need to be unique in every single post. A relation is not a one-man show and it’s really hard to be smart every day. Naturally one can occasionally come up with an original content idea, but usually good content is a result of inspiration gathered from peers and people who passed by, then processed and formulated into something (almost) new. Why pretend to work in a vacuum when reality presents a quite different opportunity – ideas and content are everywhere, ready to grab and develop! And it’s quite alright to do so.
The beauty of content and of human interaction is that any new-to-me idea (even though not quite original) may inspire others, thereby allowing the idea to live on and develop further. This goes for individuals. This goes for companies. This goes for musicians and artist – we all collect our inspiration from others. Only make sure you yourself believe in the story you’re telling. And if possible, give credit to the ones who inspired you.
This blog was also published on LinkedIn July 2nd, 2015.