There’s a popular adage in marketing: “Content is king.”
For decades, that saying inspired millions of internet users to create the website, blog, news, forum, video, podcast, eBook, graphic, and social media content that now lives forever online. Today’s social media networks greatly accelerate this, with millions of posts being published every minute across all platforms.
“Content is king” advanced the idea that if you just create great, original content, you will build an online following and experience great success. But somewhere along the way, especially over the past few years, newsfeed algorithms changed. Suddenly, exceptional content creators saw a plateau in their social media performance because they were missing a new, critical ingredient.
Changing newsfeeds and algorithms
There’s a new king in town: engagement.
Social media companies have been gradually changing the way our newsfeeds are structured. Whereas all one used to see were posts made by friends and pages they were following, our newsfeeds now show a number of notifications designed to bring attention to conversations that are already happening in one’s network. You’ve probably noticed it: “So-and-so recently commented on this post,” and “So-and-so liked this tweet.” You may not know why you’re supposed to care, but they work.
Smart, genuine, and timely engagement is what sets today’s leading organizations apart. 40% of people expect brands to respond within an hour. 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours. And more than 40% of consumers view a brand more favorably if they respond to customers on social media.
But what is one to do when you don’t have the time to sit around, waiting for comments and messages to come in? For many organizations, a dedicated community manager turns out to yield an incredible return. These community managers act as the organization’s ambassador online to develop and maintain a real sense of community by responding to comments, following up with new leads, creating organic content, motivating audiences to take action, and more.
Make no mistake, producing and publishing original content is still necessary to build a following and cultivate engagement in the first place. But for organizations looking to expand their online presence and turn followers into brand advocates, a more personal touch is required. As such, a mindset shift has to occur. Marketers can’t hit publish and walk away; they have to stick around for a while, engage in conversation, and begin to build a real community.