Cash in with time or burn out in no time – or worst still get drowned in the everyday time-consuming habit of using social media without any strategy. These are the realities facing every social media user – heavy or light – and wisdom requires that one engages in the different platforms to the level one is getting certain accrued results measured by increasing number of likes, comments, views and following.
Why? In the final analysis, social media is nothing but a tool! As useful, effective and vital social media could be to everything about our world in the 21st century, it is still a means to an end and not an end in itself. Any unguided endeavor – no matter how substantial – that makes social media an end has the tendency of turning it into a time sinking hole!
A close look at Social Media
For clarity, and hopefully for someone out there to get it once and for all, let’s for a minute strip the term social media bare by first taking away the adjective social and be left with the noun media. Then we are talking about media platforms here, with a good number of characteristics similar to the different forms we have always known: T.V. Radio, Prints etc.
Social media therefore makes the user a Media Producer of his own ideas, essence and intents. You become the Larry Izamoje of your own contents. What a great levelers Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. are proving to be, and what an opportunity to showcase your stuff if you use these platforms to your advantage!
What the experts may not tell you
Maximizing these platforms is what many social media evangelists out there – even the giant social media companies themselves – don’t really emphasize (it’s not their primary business what you use their platforms for, whether mere fun or much gain). Like many multi-level marketing schemes that have come into existence and gone, some of them outright scam, the early adopters that quickly get round the system usually prosper a lot more, capitalizing on the hard earned cash brought in by the majority of late adopters who most probably jump into the system without knowing how the system really works.
If you have any intentions of business gains (and there should be) in your involvement with social media, you must know what works on the different platforms. You really won’t maximize your aim by posts and tweets that are undirected and uncoordinated – without some underlying notion behind them. (Now, if all that excite you about Facebook is some mindless gist about your last meal or just re-uniting with some high school friends, this article is not for you.)
You must be in the media for gain
For the business minded like me that want to have good returns on the investment of time spent on social media, you may have come to the realization that social media presence and involvement doesn’t automatically equate to gain. If you Bring the adjective social back into the (social media) definition which connotes common, sharing and exchange, you will have social media as a form of media that is an interwoven marketplace. It is a welcoming jungle where you are free to express yourself but to really thrive you must be influential and powerful and that power (regarding your outputs) is simply spelt S-T-R-A-T-E-G-Y.
It is pertinent to realize that while social media boasts of huge potential audience, perhaps more than any form of media before it, the attention of this audience is drawn in tens, hundreds or thousands of directions in just one hour of engagement therefore it will take something extra for one to stand out enough to hold their attention. It will take something outstanding to bridge the gap between being unnoticed and being adored (massively liked, favorited, commented on) by targeted prospects for huge benefits.
Bridge the gap – the way Larry did
That bridge is not just constructed as a result of the social media boom! It has actually been, long before Facebook and co. came around – and has been used over and over for big profiting. Take for instance Larry Izamoje of Brila Sports, an all sports radio station in Nigeria. Larry came into the limelight in the early/mid 90s performing a 15-minute sports program on a radio FM station OGBC2, and what life he brought into it, reporting fresh tidbits on sports with such appeal and flair no other sports presenter in the country has ever showcased. It happened to be the time when the Super Eagles (the country’s national soccer team) were at their best and there were lots of buzz around sports particularly soccer. Guess whom everyone was listening to 8.15am in the morning? Larry on OGBC2!
For Larry, the 15 minute sports talk was not an end in itself but a means to an end. There is a bigger picture of owning an all sports radio station. He was only using the media platform of the 15 minutes sports talk to build a brand worth promoting with so much following such that advertisers and other stakeholders could not ignore him. Within a few years, the media buzz around his personality had been strategically channeled towards achieving his dream. In 2002, Brila Sports Radio emerged, servicing sports loving Nigerians. And according to Larry in one of his articles just before the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, “the Lord of heaven has been smiling on us (him and Brila) since then.”
“Larry’s Story” could be yours, if…
Larry’s phenomenal success ought to be less uncommon now with all the social media options available. Contrast the rate of air time on radio (OGBC2 with already built audience) which Larry had to pay for with the effort it takes to build an audience and following on free social media networks (which you will have to do), and you realize both costs cancel each other out. It means any individual, business or entity in the 21st century can ride on social media – the same way Larry did the radio platform – to Destination Success. Social media used effectively therefore is not just a plus for business or the business minded, but really could be a landslide in influence, reach and advantage – for some great profit along the way.
But on two conditions only! And these are the two provisions that must be in place for any media campaign to be effective and far-reaching. They are the laws that must be fulfilled for flourishing in social media or any other form of media before it. They are the keys that Larry got right and operated to his advantage, which you can also utilize to push your individual and corporate marketing goals. They are the cardinals for functionality and creativity in any design process:
Key 1: Essence
Think of yourself as Larry Izamoje, a media producer of your business idea, ideal or pursuit, whatever it is. What are the needs to be met and gaps to be bridged for your gain? What are the strong points about your idea and pursuit that you are boiling over with? How well are they drawn out for ample communication until your audience gets your message? Larry must have come into the radio act with all seriousness. He never missed the opportunity of giving his audience what they wanted: fresh, current and enticing news on sports. He well covered the different aspects and concerns with updates on players, coaches, clubs, associations, FIFA etc. – anything and everything important to know from the average sports lover’s point of view.
Key 2: Concept
This is the harder part where most social media users are putting the wrong foot forward because it involves strategy. (Though it is not rocket science, it is definitely not kid’s stuff.) Again as Larry, what will be the underlying notion guiding the showcase of your essence in approach, timing, frequency and class? What theme will help pull the strings in your favor? What game plan – not foreign to your ideals and friendly to your audience – will create a marketing blue ocean for your gain? Larry was quite exceptional in his packaging of his 15 minute program, marrying sports with music. Each edition usually would have a theme formed by the title of a rock music track. How Larry would beautifully tie the sports stories of the day to the chosen song! OGBC2 liked it, the radio audience liked it, and advertisers liked it. It was music to all, and the audience kept asking for more, edition upon edition.
Essence + Concept = Content
The combination and proportionate aggregate of essence and concept makes good content – or content in short. And that is it! Content is the word. It is the in-thing in media – from Charlie Chaplin’s days to now! What Larry Izamoje sold to the Nigerian populace was content. What makes an individual succeed or not in his media campaign is content. The material that social media is meant to showcase is content. As effective and transforming social media can be as a tool, without good content material to work on, it will only produce a poor fabric. And you don’t get much value for that – if you get any at all!
Evidently, regarding marketing in the 21st Century, content is one major gap that must be bridged. While common individuals, for one lousy reason or another, can be on social media just for the fun of it, business minded personalities, groups and organizations must invest in packaging contents that will sell their brand on the social media platforms now in vogue, or else, make a lousy job of their overall marketing campaign. The content gap must be bridged through essence well drawn out, showcased and delivered by a functional concept. This is the strategy that works!
The need for a Content Marketing Strategist
Content, marketing and strategy, perhaps the three most important terms shaping 21st century business, have come together to form a profession; Content Marketing Strategy, which is positioned to help brands and organizations succeed at their aspirations, goals and pursuits. This trade however isn’t anything new. It has been utilized by successful media personalities – like Larry Izamoje and it works all the time. Content always works!
(This article was first published on author’s Tumblr page)
About the author-Michael Omisore is a Writer/Editor/Content Marketing Strategist helping brands and organizations develop strategy for content creation and packaging for effective 21st century business marketing. He is the author of Writing Masterpieces, Nine Steps to Giving Your Readers Sky-scraping Value for their Time and Money http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FI83X9O. You can follow him @mdomisore on twitter or send him a mail: email@example.com.