Stop trying to “cheat” social media – a rant

 

In today’s world, it seems you’re not a digital expert unless you’re spamming people’s feeds with automated posts that share “hacks & cheats” so everyone else can ‘master’ social media. But you know what? Such things don’t exist. Prepare yourself for a bit of a Vellacott rant…

We’re not saying everything you’ve read is a lie, rather it’s more likely they are just things that have been mislabeled despite the innocent intention to educate. But, we consider any type of cheat to be disingenuous, and also a poor reflection of all the really cool things you can do across social platforms to benefit you personally and business-ally(?). We’re going to use this opportunity to show you some of the ways we approach the various platforms, and why (for us) it works better to use #realtalk.

A hack is quite literally defined as unauthorised access to a system. Social platforms are created and ran by geniuses, they won’t let you do anything they don’t want you to do therefore there is hardly ever a way ‘around’ the system that is exclusive. And as for ‘cheat’, the same applies. You can’t cheat social media – only make it your own with a personalised and banging approach.

So, rather than having a moan and nit-pick at what we’ve seen and offering no alternative to the overdone content we see clouding our feeds, we’re sharing with you our social media mantra. We’ve shared it before when we congratulated businesses on a great use of social for Valentines Day, but it seems relevant to do so again with all the updates and algorithm changes we’re already seeing be implemented in 2018.

In not-far-from-true commandment fashion, our ten were written by the fingers of a creative and shared across digital tablets (rather than ones made of stone). Nonetheless, check them out:

Thou shan’t turn a digital cheek to any of these commandments, if thou doth, thou shall be cursed for all eternity with a rubbish online presence and a lack of genuine engagement.

10 commandments of social media as followed by Giant Campus:

We, the bestowed owners of the Giant Campus social media, will endeavour to abide by the following:

  1. Thou shall not post on Twitter without any form of visual accompaniment (they cost nothing! …sometimes)
  2. Thou shall not spam others timelines with blogs not written by them (especially when you can write it yourself!)
  3. Thou shall not follow with the intent to unfollow soon after, in an attempt to ‘grow a following’
  4. Thou shall not tag in businesses or accounts to posts and images that hold no relevance to them in an attempt to get in front of their following
  5. Thou shall not engage with other members of the social universe without meaningful and genuine comment
  6. Thou shall not rely on scheduled posts to replace adhoc, reactive ones entirely
  7. Thou shall not use Instagram in a salesy manner (it’s neither the time, nor the place!)
  8. Thou shall produce a mix of content types to appeal to many different people
  9. Thou shall align all social media activity to larger business goals
  10. Thou shall tailor all content to the publishing platform on which it is to be posted.

A large portion of our mantra is self explanatory, it’s all about genuine content that gives something to your audience. For example, our goal at Giant Campus with any of our content online is to engage, to enthuse and to educate – simply scroll through any of our social feeds to see examples of this.

We’re going to explore a few of our commandments further during this blog, just to give you a transparent insight into the everyday workings of Giant Campus. But, if you want to know more, you’d be wise to check out our content and social media training courses so you can tailor your very own approach.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so adding one to your Twitter post just gives you that extra opportunity to get your message across and jump over the 280 character limit. Also, think about when you’re scrolling through the platforms timeline, words after words after words… but oh, is that a relevant and eye catching image? Let’s have a look. Capture the eye, engage them with visuals, bish bash bosh.

You’ve probably read somewhere that using a load of hashtags, no matter the level of relevancy, is going to get your posts more impressions than any other. Actually, Tweets with images are 34% more likely to be retweeted than those without – that’s a pretty attractive statistic, so why don’t more people Tweet with accompanying visuals?

Once a week, minimum, we are tagged into a post on Twitter or Instagram that has absolutely no relevance to us. Harmless you might think? But no, this is an example of a ‘cheat’ where individuals have been told that in doing this, you’ll get in front of that accounts following. Whilst true, it’s something that social media algorithms will catch up on, and it also is really quite crappy of you. You should earn your following with your own intriguing content, not by flaunting it in front of an others. Whilst at first we’d just click un-tag or chuck them a like for the sake of being friendly, it’s now getting tiresome.

During our Content, Content, Content pilot course we had many of our learners come up to us and ask if there is anything they can do to prevent this from happening without having to disable the tagging feature for their own profiles. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do unless you have a chat with repeat offenders, but we hope that one day people will see it seldom works and isn’t a great way of presenting themselves online.

An alternative to this, if you’re doing it, is to make the content relevant and fun and then people won’t mind if you tag them in. Ask them a question or share an article you think would engage the guys you usually tag. Give, and you shall receive! 

A good example of this being the following from Dodgems & Floss who tagged us into this piece of content that we really enjoyed:


And finally, we’d like to address our tenth commandment which is to tailor your content to the platform it’s to be publish upon. This may seem like a given, but we’re still seeing people to this day sinning in such a way. You’ve got to understand that no matter who you are or what you’re selling, your audience will vary per platform.

If your audience doesn’t vary by age, gender or location across social media, then you should consider the tone of voice they’ll expect on each type instead. For example, your message can be similar across both your Twitter and LinkedIn feeds, but your LinkedIn audience are most likely looking for professional and composed – whereas on Twitter you can use #foodporn and it all be ok.

You need to understand your audience to know what and where to post. As you may have guessed by now, we don’t recommend the ‘Social Media Audience Cheat Sheet’’s you’ll see where it tells you that “38% of female internet users use Instagram and 26% of male internet users use Instagram”, because even if true, is this statistic really relevant to you and your business goals? No, we can guarantee it’s not. More in-depth research needs to be done, and we can show you how!

For now, we share with you some favourites of ours to understand our audience a little better – YouGov Profiler and Answer The Public.

 

One day in the hopefully not-so-distant future we will see an reduction in the amount of cheats and hacks promised to make us unique online. But, for now, we hope you’ll take heed of our message and realise that you’ll only succeed on social media if you make it your own. The future starts with you, so lead into it in the best way possible!

If you’d like to learn how to make creative content that align with our mantra or one similar, then we recommend checking out our content marketing course, lead by GC’s very own creatives.

If you’re interested in knowing where your audience truly sit online and which social media platforms are best for you, then our social media for business course is the one – headed up by Sleeping Giant Media’s Digital Creative, Ben Hawkes.

If you’re interested in both courses, or would simply just like to ask a question, then pop us an email on questions@giantcampus.co.uk or find us on social with #AskTheGiants.

Phone: 01303 765394
Giant Campus. Top Floor The Civic Centre Castle Hill Avenue
Folkestone Kent CT20 2QY