Content Over Clickbait: Establishing Credibility on Social Media
“Clickbait.” “You got phished.” “Fact checking…”
These are phrases are heard a lot today. It’s easy to forget that they only started a few years ago.
The fact is that an increasing number of people are losing faith in professional news media. If juggernauts such as the news are looked upon with suspicion, what chance does your social media have to be trusted?
This loss of faith has many either refusing to trust reliable sources or uncritically trusting unreliable ones.
In a word, bad social-media manners have given the medium a bad rap. As Warren Buffett has famously stated, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” So since social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, here are some ways to rise above and gain some real credibility.
Whether you are marketing goods, services, or your own thoughts, you need to be consistent if you want to gain a significant platform. There is nothing more frustrating than discovering a blog or Twitter account that looks promising, only to find that there are two-month gaps between posts. Without consistent, fresh content there will be no momentum. And without momentum you will never gain a real following.
Once a page, blog, or post gains a bit of traffic, you will start to get messages, shares, retweets, and other types of affirmation and feedback from the audience. Respond to those messages. “Heart” those retweets. Like those comments. Establishing and nurturing those connections will turn traffic into a connection, and that’s when things will begin to take off.
Be Serious About Quality:
I’ve lost count of how many times I have clicked on one of those articles with a provocative photo and a title like “You Won’t Believe What Happened Next,” or, “Ten Ways to [Fill in the Blank], and #7 Will Blow Your Mind,” only to realize very quickly that it’s a ruse, mere clickbait designed to generate hits while providing no real content. Don’t do that. It will not only destroy credibility, it is the quickest way to get unfollowed.
Brand, Brand, Brand:
While people warn against judging a book by its cover, what other way is there to judge it at first? This is even more true of websites and other social media content. If someone visits your site and it looks old or outdated they are unlikely to stick around; let alone read what you have to say. While most of us aren’t graphic designers, they aren’t too difficult to find. Seek one out and develop a brand and a style that is uniquely your own, and integrate that identity into everything you do on social media.
Whatever your medium may be—podcasting, blogging, Twitter, etc.—find others who are successfully doing something within the same genre and make yourself present where they are. Comment, post, share links to your content. It’s called the “web” for a reason, so put the “inter” in Internet and reach out, making yourself (and by extension, your content) present for others to see.
Sure, there’s a lot of click-bait and bogus content out there. But rather than totally writing off the medium, it’s time to distinguish ourselves, and show the doubters a better way.