Doing Social Right, Part Two: Going Native

In part one of doing social right, we talked about the three possible outcomes of your social media strategy and knowing what’s relevant to share.

To summarize, with social media you can:

  1. turn people on (mostly good, sometimes bad),
  2. turn people off (mostly bad, but sometimes amazing), or
  3. create no reaction (terrible).

There’s nothing worse than handing your current or potential fan base right over to a competitor by creating no reaction, but there are ups and downs to turning people on and off. If you haven’t read part one, I’d suggest you do that here.

We also talked about what to share and what not to share. Other than avoiding polarizing topics like religion and politics (remember how heated the last election got? If you engage in topics like that, you’ll likely be ostracizing half of your fans) – you should share everything and anything that shows people who you are.

As a general rule – following you should make someone’s life better. You do that by showing them that you are like them, or like the person they want to be. Your story is their story.

Okay, so that covers an overview of what you should be sharing on social.

Now let’s talk about knowing when, where and how you should be sharing.

I see a lot of mistakes in this area, even more than people talking about things that I wouldn’t encourage. The book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook talks about sharing ‘native’ content, but that’s not a term that’s commonly used outside of people studying social media.

So, what does ‘native’ content mean to us in the sports biz?

While a lot of content overlaps different platforms – your Facebook friends and Instagram followers might enjoy the same photo – each platform has it’s own language, culture and sensibility.

We could probably talk all day (call me, maybe?) about the nuances of this, but I put together a summary of common platforms and things you should know about them:

 Twitter: Perfect for short updates, with witty and ironic hashtags when they add to the message. Conversations are strongly encouraged – in fact, when you post and what you do or don’t respond to might actually be more important than your actual content. There’s a difference between joining a conversation and interrupting it, and it’s the same as real life. Don’t try to hijack a conversation and make it about you. Be genuine. And don’t fill your follower’s feed with nonsense, interrupting their timelines with RT and Follow pleas from you or other companies. Content should be put directly on Twitter, not linked to from Facebook, Constant Contact or Instagram. (This might be the most important point in the whole blog post.) Also, avoid too much of the reply/retweet of someone else’s compliment. Retweeting a nice thing someone said about you is okay every once in a while, but do it too much and it’s obnoxious. People who follow you really don’t care about praise from someone they don’t know.

Facebook: Quality, but still short updates that people will want to interact with. They should be fun, relevant or useful. They should inspire people to share – whether it’s on their own pages or sharing their likes, comments and thoughts on your content. Engagement is key, because that’s what tells Facebook that people actually want to see your updates and ranks it higher than others. Facebook is a great place to ask people questions. Posts that are visually compelling (great photo instead of a link) do well. If you have a company, put your logo on the photo. If you have a Fan Page (you should!) make sure you clean any spam posts and comments off of the wall – it’s your job to make it a welcoming place for your real fans.

Instagram: Instagram is 100% image-based content. And by images, I mean art. ‘Native’ content is artistic, not advertising. Overlaying beautiful text when appropriate can take your content to the next level. Instead of just a victory lane picture (emphasis on this being a compelling shot, not a track photographers stock image), overlay a great quote from the interview. Hashtags are actually one of the most valuable parts of the Instagram conversation – use as many as you can think of. You literally can’t overuse them on Instagram.

YouTube: If I have to explain YouTube to you, you’re probably not prepared to use it. It’s for video and video only (please, no videos composed of a slideshow of photos).  Your videos and channel should have a compelling and search-worthy description. If your videos need music, do not use copyrighted music (this is almost all music, by the way). It’s a crazy risk – the artist, songwriter, producer…anyone involved in making the song has the right to sue if you use it without permission. There are lots of places to buy music solely for the purpose of sharing – just Google royalty-free music and see how many sites offer royalty- and copyright-free songs specifically for this purpose. 

Pinterest: You’re probably not using Pinterest, and for good reason – it’s geared toward how-to posts for women. BUT if you’re a photographer or you have really compelling visuals, the male demographic is growing here and it might be worth it to explore this platform. Plus, there are a TON of female racing fans that you shouldn’t underestimate by any means. If you’re going to dabble in Pinterest, here’s what you need to know: your picture has to be really beautiful and your description has to be compelling. Overlaying beautiful text can attract even more re-pins and follows.

If you only learn one thing, I hope it’s this: I’ve worked with a lot of brands on social media, and trying to multi-task with content is the most common mistake I see. Using the same status update on multiple platforms just tells people you don’t care enough to take the extra few seconds it takes to customize your message to them.

Sharing your story can help your audience grow – but your fans will only listen and care if you do, too.

With love,

Kristin

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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.