Have you ever had one of those juicy headlines drop in front of you, either as a subject line or a link in Facebook, one that seemed almost too good? Maybe if you filled out a form, it promised you content that would solve your problem.
But then you clicked the link or filled out the form and… it promised way more than it delivered. Was that 30 seconds of your life wasted? Yes. Did it make you feel a little silly because you fell for link bait? Maybe. Imagine when you do that to your prospects, offering content that doesn’t live up to the promise.
Yet, you do that every day and you might not know it, because you haven’t learned the single greatest rule in social media.
If you go to Amazon.com and search for social media books, more than 498,000 results come back. By the end of the month, there will be more than half a million books about how to use different social media channels, how to increase your audience, how to engage your audience, and how to encourage sharing of your content. Some of the books focus on enterprise-level community management, and some on how one person can become a thought leader within their industry with social media.
With all this thought and written word behind social media, I’m always surprised that 90% of these books skip right past the number one factor when it comes to social media success. Some mention it in passing, or as part of a long list of things that can impact your social media program, but very, very few point it out as the most important thing.
The single most important factor in creating a successful social media channel has nothing to do with how many channels you are posting to, with how many times a day you post, or even what time of day you post.
The secret of social media success for talent acquisition professionals is to be relevant.
Or, you can publish all the eye-catching info graphics and videos you want. Post as many pictures of kittens playing with otters as you can find. Hire the entire copywriting staff of BuzzFeed to craft your headlines. Get Nate Silver to do a statistical survey of your posts and determine the exact second to post. Spend millions of dollars a year on promotional campaigns and rewards for your followers.
In the end, one relevant post a week will wipe the floor with your army of professionals.
Think about it like a toolbox. You’ve got wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, chisels, pliers, screws and nails… all that money can buy. But some days you just need a small piece of duct tape to do the job. You may have the contents of a small Home Depot in your toolkit, but if you don’t have the thing you need, all that work you put in to collecting that amazing toolkit was worthless.
All those other things can help you amplify your relevance, but they don’t buy themselves create relevance. And relevance is what your audiences’ desire and demand. They will happily like your page to get a coupon or a giveaway or a Whitepaper, but as soon as they do, they’re gone. It takes just as much effort to unfollow an account as it does to follow one. So while you’re spending money and time trying to make another big splash, I’ll be over here giving people useful, helpful and valuable content. We’ll see who wins.
I’m fully aware the relevance is a blanket term in that you can’t simply buy relevance. It’s not something you can add to your profiles. Relevance is a by-product of knowing your audience, understanding what they really want and providing it to them. Do you really know who your audience is, let alone what they want? If you don’t — you won’t be able to create relevant content on a regular basis. Sure, you might trip over it and accidentally publish something relevant, but how can you know if that’s what you did unless you understand your audience?
Every thought, every tactic, every plan, every meeting that touches social media should hinge on that single idea: is what we’re creating relevant? To whom is it relevant? Is this who we really need to be talking to?
Anything else is like creating a chatterbox that sits in the corner of the room, making a lot of noise and buying or bullying an audience into existence. But that doesn’t mean they are interested in you. Do you follow channels that don’t provide some semblance of relevance to you? Of course you don’t. You wouldn’t waste your time. So why would you expect your prospects to waste their own time?
So this spring, as you’re doing a deep clean of your digital talent acquisition tactics, ask your team how they are thinking about relevance in regard to your prospects. Do they know who their audiences are and what would and wouldn’t be relevant to them? Making relevance the North Star by which you sail will increase your audience authentically and create real and meaningful engagement. That’s how to turn your content and social media into something intensely valuable.