Mark Zuckerberg set up The Facebook (or perhaps appropriated it) as a way for college students to connect with each other. What immediately became apparent was that it was much more than that. It became a format for sharing. And naturally, the more entertaining the content was, the more it was shared.
But today many brands seem to have forgotten or put aside the basic premise of social networks: If I like what I see, I’m going to 1) pay attention and 2) be much more likely to pass it along to friends.
However, there’s a very strong temptation to treat Facebook and Twitter as blank canvases that can be painted over with self-promotion. It’s a captive audience, right? A great place for your brand to talk about new products or special features or what the company has been up to. Well, no.
The simple truth is: it’s not a captive audience. When people stop sharing your content, it reaches fewer of your fans to begin with. Because part of Facebook’s formula is that it doesn’t send your wall posts to all your fans. But it does reach more of them when you have a high sharing rate over time. So, you’re rewarded for being entertaining. And engaging. And funny. There’s a kind of justice there.
Let’s take Pepsi’s ‘Uncle Drew’ video as a current example. At the time of this writing, it has over 6,825,000 views on YouTube. It’s just under five minutes long. It’s not about the product. People aren’t shown drinking Pepsi Max. It feels more like a video for Nike. But it’s entertaining as hell. And that’s the secret.
Even if you don’t have the budget to hire a basketball superstar, you can afford to hire a creative team to put together great content for you. It’s just a matter of priorities. And if you want to succeed with building a community, you need to get your priorities straight.