Content Marketing Isn’t Social | Truly Social with Tara
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Content Marketing Isn’t Social | Truly Social with Tara


As a hirer of many young people, I am dismayed to discover that many post-secondary
institutions that are teaching social media marketing today,
conflate social with content. All of their students are
coming out wonderfully prepared to craft a tweet, or
create an animated GIF, but many of them don’t realize
that this is not social. “I don’t get it.”
Josh, Big Wait, you thought that content
marketing was social too? Okay, so today, I’m gonna cover ground that I’ve covered before. But specifically address
the apples and oranges, which is content and social. My name is Tara, and this is Truly Social. Because I am the queen of
all the world, (laughs) kidding, but I have been doing this stuff for almost 20 years, “Well isn’t that special.”
The Church Lady I have defined what is social with the following parameters. Number one, social must include a two or more way interaction. This means that there’s
an exchange of something that is both written and
read by two or more parties. And you can swap out written
for any sort of media, like video, audio, image. And you can swap out read
for any sort of action, like watched, listened, and inhaled. You get my drift. There is a reason that
the web is talked about as read, write, whereas the
previous media was read only. So by this definition, content
posted to social platforms can definitely be social, right? I post this video, and you
have the opportunity to comment or speak back to me with
another video, which I can see. It’s not like TV, where
we all yell at the screen, but the screen could never
hear you, or answer back. Although I wonder how that works now that supposedly our
TVs are listening to us. “Whoa!”
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure Now, there are more parameters than just the two-way interaction, though. Number two is that post,
or video, or the image, or the like, needs to have
the intention of creating or building relationships
between those specific parties. So here are some social examples. If I send a voice recording to a friend to tell her I’m thinking about her, or comment on a new contact’s Instagram post with a helpful suggestion, these are social interactions. I’m building personal
connections with these people. Two-way. But this video, I hate to admit it, but I’m posting it now to
send you a one-way message. Or send a general group of
people a one-way message. Your comments and suggestions in the comments below are social. They are personal
messages that are intended to get a personal response. And if I respond, that’s also social. But my video itself, in
essence, is pretty one-way. It’s not personal. It’s a general message. Of course, I can create and post content that is intended for
a very specific group, like friends, family, a smaller community, like for instance, a Facebook rant on how I feel about the new
season of Stranger Things. “Bitchin’.”
Eleven, Stranger Things But there’s an intended
two-way relationship fostering there. By posting it, I wanna
engage my friends, family, connections in a
discussion on this matter. Now, of course, I’m hoping
that they all agree with me, which is rarely the case, but the post wasn’t about trying to push out a message
publicly that I wanted people just to listen to, and absorb. “Like I said, I don’t know, and I don’t care.”
Erica, Stranger Things The third parameter, is that the interaction should add value to all parties involved,
all of the parties. This value could be as
simple as warm fuzzies. Now this parameter is a
bit of a non sequitur, as most content is disqualified
in that second parameter, being that it is one to many. But here is where it comes into play. Person A sends a message
to you on Instagram. “I love your style.” You respond, “Thanks, I just checked you
out, and I love your style too.” And then they reply, “Here’s a coupon for 25%
off merchandise in my shop.” Ugh, how disappointing, right? There was a social interaction meant to build a relationship, but the interaction was one-sided. The commenter wanted
you to buy their stuff, not to be their friend. “I’m not your friend, buddy!”
South Park Movie So in summary of all
of the parameters here, content calendars meant for planning when you’re going to be
pushing out messages, edutainment videos posted to
disseminate useful lessons in an entertaining way,
to a large audience, perfectly posed and
filtered images on Instagram intended to show your audience
how amazing your life is, none of this is social. It’s content and it’s
intended to get attention and engagement, but that isn’t social. It’s very one-way. So then, when is content social? Ever? Well, there are some examples. Like, TweetChats, Livestreams,
Town Halls, Meetups, and other live events intended to strike up conversations
with your audience. Those are social. The content is intended
to be more than one-way, you’re there to chat back
and forth and listen, has the intention of
building those relationships, you get to know people
who follow you by name, and maybe even forge
new deeper connections with people you already know, and it’s intended to
add value for everyone. Your audience interacts, and
gets to know one another, and gets to feel heard. Another example is
conversations that do happen in the comments or forums
below, because of the content. These interactions are very social. If you comment below, “Oh well, I disagree
because this, this, and this.” And I comment back,
and we have a discussion, that’s where the social occurs. Now, social is propelled
because of content, and that’s where the
important connection is made. But in essence, nothing that is planned, or structured is social. Think of it this way,
the social media version of social is what we’ve
always done as human beings. The only difference is that
we have bigger public forums. So we can meet people
from all over the world while being social. Not just locally. If you compare the
online with the offline, would you call something
like a speech social? “Uh, mic’s not w-working.”
Bridget Jones’ Diary No, it’s one to many. Do you carefully script and plan out your conversations with friends? Now if you hesitated to answer that, you may need a little bit of help with being social in general. Social is human, and
imperfect, and spontaneous. Content is great and essential, and actually can help you lead to social, but is not social in itself. So that leads me to the next question. If brands are really very
focused on content marketing, can they every be truly social? Well, that’s a question
for another episode. And if you want to know
when that episode comes out, don’t forget to subscribe
and/or follow me. My name is Tara, and this
has been Truly Social.

About Ralph Robinson

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10 thoughts on “Content Marketing Isn’t Social | Truly Social with Tara

  1. Thanks for more excellent content Tara. I was just writing an article on how even companies don' t know the difference between a social media manager and a digital content manager. Timely content. Thanks.

  2. Great distinction! Loved your point about content leading to social…got anything good published anywhere that shares more on that subject?

  3. I know you know it but I’m gonna say it anyway: you are awesome, your content is amazing, but you should considering Vbloging or whatever piece of content, every single day in order to grow your wonderful Chanel, you deserve it
    , anyway

  4. I was going to signup for a social media marketing certification at my local community college and from what I gathered the curriculum was exactly what social media shouldn't be. Glad I saved myself the time and money.

  5. Your videos are so informative and helpful to me. I have found I am being barraged by women I follow who seemingly only want to push 20% off coupon codes or push product or hype companies. I am so sick of it and all I want to do is unfollow all these people and brands who gives no 💩s about being social or creating relationships.

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