Updated: Jun 1, 2019
It's time for some tough love honey. When Nick Lowe released "Cruel to be kind" back in 1979, I doubt he ever envisaged his work would be referenced in a blog post some forty years later.
But here we are, and I'm passing on the wisdom of a teen generation that grew up sans smartphone, making the transition from Abba to Blondie via the Sex Pistols on TOTP, while suffering intense disapproval from parents reared on Buddy Holly and the outrageous Little Richard.
By the way. If you haven't yet grasped what social media marketing (SMM) is, then here's an introduction to social media marketing which will orientate you between a Tweet, a Facebook business page and all destinations in between.
So why am I asking you to avoid social media? The very thing that can take your company viral, put you front and centre stage and shine the spotlight on what a terrific act you are for less than the cost of a cheap Latte?
The answer is that you are bare bones, plain and simple. There's no meat to the feat, no flesh to impress. Your website doesn't have enough content, and without it, you are a lousy busker in a dingy suburban subway. Pull up the cheap seats for the naked entertainer.
Why Social Media Works
The reason celebrities and notables can put social media to work effortlessly for them is that they are their brand, and their product is themselves. Followers like and retweet because their favourite artist is launching a new album, or their favourite celebrity just crashed and burned on the runway to the nearest rehab centre.
Politicians and their critics always have an opinion and those that don't are not worth following. Being opinionated is a prerequisite for being a draw on social media. Being a liar, a cheat, an adulterer, a narcissist, a racist, or better still all of them rolled into one is guaranteed to make you pure social media box office gold, if not only for the car crash spectacle. It's hard to look away from someone self-immolating and melting down in general public view.
Legal scholars have an educated opinion, Gary Lineker has a political opinion, Piers Morgan has a high opinion...of himself, but what they all have in common is that they use the ultimate visual communication channel - television, as their content platform.
What Are You Promoting On Social Media?
Authors always have an upcoming book to sell, sports journalists have a new piece in the Telegraph or the Times, restaurants have a daily special on their menu which may not sound like a lot, but they have a restaurant to promote.
What do you bring to the party? Randomly broadcasting your message out into the vast cosmos of social media is going to have no effect unless you have something tangible to promote. A brand, perhaps? People follow brands, but you'll have to build one first.
Instead of letting your attention be captured by the glitzy glamour of social media, I encourage you to ignore it. Turn social media off, remove the Apps from your smartphone. Stop monitoring for that pathetic one mention of your company every week.
Rather, go to work building some content foundation pillars that will stand the test of time and become the bedrock on which you base your future marketing effort. Build four excellent pieces of content that you can point to as being uniquely interesting and informative in your industry. They will probably be 2,000 to 4,000 words of genuinely useful content, a comprehensive guide perhaps or maybe a video or both.
You don't always have to start building your content foundation pillars from scratch either, sometimes combining three or four of your weaker content posts into one much stronger blog post is a much better strategy. You can determine what the bounce rate is for your posts and how they perform by inspecting your Google analytics data.
Some Examples Of Foundational Content Pillar Pages:
Resource Pillar Page
This is the "go to" page for any new user to your site that wants to find out more information about your topic. Include both internal and external links to content and don't be afraid to highlight other resources of interest that may be more conclusive than your own pages. Give yourself the chance to create useful inbound links by demonstrating your expertise in your subject.
Resource pillar pages can include links to youtube videos, vital statistical information from Government or other authoritative resources and links to useful tools.
10x Content Pillar Page
Since I came across Grant Cardones 10x, I've become absorbed by the concept of outworking everyone else and doing more with the limited time we all have available. 10x can apply to all areas of life and building a 10x content pillar page is one of them.
The idea is simply to build a page on your topic that is 10x better than any other. Not only do longer, well-written pages encourage user engagement, but they also curry favour with Google, always looking to provide the best answer to any question at the top of the search engine results. Unless it's paid for of course.
Write supporting content and establish a content production routine. When and only when you've built a solid content core, you'll be ready to become the piper and begin calling others to dance to your tune. The beauty of having evergreen cornerstone content is that you can keep it updated and add the latest information allowing you to keep promoting it...on social media.
To summarise, spending your marketing budget trying to build a social media following when you have little substance to offer is a complete waste of time. Oh, and Nick Lowe doesn't even bother with a Twitter account.