How Not to Build a New Presence in Social Media

There is so much crap social media advice out there, once in a while it simply leaves me speechless.

As told before I am a member of a (German) Social Media Marketing group on Facebook. This morning I saw the (totally legitimate) question of how to gain fans on Facebook for a new page without paying for ads.

Although there are ways to grow a Facebook page without ads, one of the first answers “starting new today you will probably have to think about ads” might be at least partly true. Some of the other tips on how to grow a Facebook Fanpage were really going from bad to worse. Ok, some advice like “buying fans”, “post in relike-groups”, “spam your friends” and the like is obviously just bad advice from people who do not know better.

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But it gets worse:

What really shocked me is the advice most social media consultants gave: “Simply good content, patience and consistent work.” My god… we have 2015  the old assumption that good content will rise to the top no matter what simply doesn’t work any more. People who try just content will fail miserably (although good content is of course needed).

The hard truth is: These people will spend their life talking to themselves their best friend and their cat for the rest of their (social media marketing) life.

Let me translate this Social Media advice into a real-life example:

Suppose you want to organize a series of parties and someone tells you: You do not need to tell people about the party, do not write invitations, people might consider them spam. Simply provide the best food, drinks and music and people will notice and come.

I am fairly sure, you would ignore this advice and invite people to your party anyway. And you are right to do so. So, why do so many people still believe this kind of crap advice in connection with social media or blogging?

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The internet is a crowded spaceGood content is a necessity – but it is not sufficient to guarantee growth of a Social Media presence. You need distribution!

Neither a blog nor a Facebook page that has no readers/fans will mysteriously one day start to attract an audience just because they have good content! How should this happen, when no one notices the great content that is on there? Who is going to spread the word about your blog or Fanpage if not you? The fans you do not have? The readers you still have not yet attracted?

I am not talking about spamming other people with daily messages like “Did you see my blog/fanpage?” – although there is nothing wrong about telling people who could be interested that you HAVE a new blog or Fanpage, even ask them to have a look. I recommend doing this when you already published a few (outstanding or at least noteworthy) articles or updates. This way people can see what you are doing and what they will get if they follow you.

Who is going to spread the message about your new Social Media presence?

Word of mouth is a funny thing: Without anyone ever noticing, who will spread the word?

You need to get the word out about your blog or social media existence. There are multiple ways to do this. Simply publishing good content is not enough any more for the simple reason there are so many others posting great content and they do spread the word about it.

The amount of content on the web is growing exponentially – you have to compete to win.

Basically, I can see three options (or a combination of these):

  1. You have a strong presence somewhere else and can cross-promote to build your new presence
  2. You start a presence on a platform where you can “push” growth with hard work but without paying for ads (Twitter is an example)
  3. You pay for growth

Content without DistributionWe here at The Social Ms are using option one since we are already big on Twitter: We use our Twitter presence to promote our blog and even our totally new Facebook page. I can confirm that it works :)

We used option number 2 when we built exploreB2B: We were new to the game and had basically no following in Social Media. It does take a lot of persistent work – but it works.

We also did not have not enough of an audience for exploreB2B to build our Social Media presence on it. So we started building a tribe on Twitter – just see were we are now and how we can use this presence.

Good content without distribution is… good content that is wasted

Good content that speaks to your target audience is a necessity – but it is not sufficient to guarantee growth and it for sure is not a Social Media strategy. Once you have an audience, this audience will help you spread the word about your content. But as long as your audience consists of your best friend, your mum and yourself, it is you who has to spread the word – simply because no one else who might do it, knows about your great content.

To sit back and wait that an audience will appear out of thin air – means simply you are waiting for a miracle that is not going to happen.

And you do want a successful and well attended (Social Media) party, don’t you?

This article was proofread and edited by myself with the help of Grammarly. If you are blogging in English and cannot afford a professional editor, Try Grammarly Now! It rocks.

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  • vivienne neale

    Infobesity is the worst problem. The Internet’s arteries are just getting clogged!

    Writers and webmasters need to undertake serious data analysis before they write anything. Customers need different content depending where they are on their journey.

    People are also over-sharing and sharing without reading too. Yes, of course i agree with social shares, without question, but it’s more than that. Consider first, what is the definition of ‘good’ content? It’s probably appropriate content (good because it speaks to a specific audience at the right time with a targeted and fairly simple message) that’s what’s needed. It has to be written cleanly, simply and engagingly, post data analysis and insights – not observations. I hope you don’t consider this a ‘bad’ advice:) Thanks for the post, Jonathan.

  • https://www.marcelhofeditz.com Marcel Hofeditz

    Thanks a lot Susanna! I fully agree with what you said and I made the same experience with my fb page: http://www.marcelhofeditz.com/blog/page-versus-profile-the-facebook-dilemma

    However, I want to add two things. First of all, content is one of the words, I most dislike in the internet because it suggerates that any content is good content. And that content is necessary.
    I disagree with that, you can have an awesome social media experience with sharing. Just sharing, dicussing, liking, favouriting, … You can grow Big this way.
    Second, there are many more channels that may help beyond Twitter. For instance, groups on fb and LinkedIn can really make a big difference because you can find the exact audience you are writing for.
    Cheers, Marcel

  • JulioLaker

    Although might I add that “fresh and original” not “retweeted from February” would also be a good idea?

  • Kristin Sendler

    Thank you for this post. This reminds me of the overall attitude towards Marketing in general in so many German small and medium-sized enterprises. They think they have a great product (and that may even be true) so people would come and buy. And then they wonder why nobody actually does…