If you’ve spoken to a social media marketing consultant recently they’ll probably have said to you something along the lines of: “Live video is what counts in social media nowadays. To beat the algorithms you need to start producing live video for Facebook/Instagram Stories”.
Well listen up: No. You. Do. Not.
There is no questioning the fact that live video works well on Facebook at the current time and that Instagram Stories are big news. No argument from me on either front. But what I do take issue with is that live video is suitable for everyone. Or even that Instagram Stories is suitable for everyone.
Content Types v Personality Types
I recently spoke with Mark Schaefer about personal branding for the Digital Download podcast (and I seriously recommend you give that a listen). One of the things we talked about was finding a content type that you’re comfortable producing; something you enjoy and that resonates with your audience. And what dawned on me during and after that chat is that it really is OK to hate certain types of content.
I don’t just mean to find it difficult to produce them, but to actually despise them. Sure, it’s easy for me as a digital marketing consultant to sit here and say ‘you need to start a podcast’ or ‘you need to tweet ten times a day minimum’, but it’s not that simple.
For some people, the idea of sitting down and writing a 600 word blog post every week might be hellish. For others, documenting the ins and outs of your day with Instagram Stories might seem like the most puerile thing in the world ever. For others, live video makes you want to throw up in your mouth.
But you know what? That’s OK.
If you’d like to point me to the regulation that says you should be across all content forms at all times I’ll take this all back with a huge slice of humble pie sans cream. But otherwise, we all need to suck up a huge dose of reality.
Introverts v Extroverts
There are different personality types in this world. At a very basic level, introverts and extroverts. And different personality types have a preference for different content types. It’s easy for an extrovert to say “you need to be all over live video” and it’s easy for an introvert to say “you need to blog twice a week”. But neither perspective takes account of the person who’ll actually be producing that content.
So maybe the reason you’ve been struggling with what your social media guru has told you is simply because you’re not suited to what they’re suggesting?
It’s not that you can’t do it or don’t have it in you, it’s just that you’re not channeling your energies into the right places. Consider these lists from Mark Schaefer’s book ‘Known’:
Extrovert content forms:
- Live video
- Solo podcasts/videos
- Twitter chats
Introvert content forms:
- Visual content
- Podcasts/videos interviewing others
Ring any (alarm) bells?
For me personally, I’m a classic introvert. And I just cannot get on board with Instagram Stories no matter how hard I (don’t) try. I find it largely vacuous. But does that mean there’s no value in it? Certainly not. I regularly talk to my clients about how they need to consider it. (Part of being a good consultant is not being led by your personal beliefs and limitations.)
I run a podcast, which I absolutely love doing. But what do I do? I interview and chat to others. The idea of filling 30 minutes by myself sends shivers down my spine. And I’m also not a big fan of video, live or not. I tried it for a few months, but it just wasn’t ‘me’. It didn’t feel natural and led to my mum of all people saying she just couldn’t watch it! (I accept that my mum isn’t my target audience but she does, after all, know me quite well!)
Focus On Where You’ll Make an Impact
What I personally needed to do was to focus on forms of content that suit my character: blogs, podcast interviews and the like where I’m not relying on my (non-existent) personality to get me through. For you, that might be something different.
The key is to channel your efforts towards the types of content that you are personally attracted to. The things that you can make a real go of. The things you’ll stick with for months and for years.
And forget the stuff you’re not, you can’t and you won’t.