The Golden Rule of Social Content

Inspiration can come from anywhere. I love the unpredictability of it. Recently it came from my 7-year-old son. As our family sat around the kitchen table on a Sunday afternoon talking about Twitter and a few interesting tweets of the day, my son shouted out, “Tweet others as you would have others tweet you.” A brilliant new spin on the Golden Rule. After that awe-struck moment, I began to look at posting habits of my social network as well as my own habits to see if this principle held water. And I think it does. Here’s why.

As my social footprint expanded outside of Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter and Instagram, and as I gained more followers, my content became more tailored to what my audience enjoys. It was almost an unconscious process. I also recognize my interest in getting more likes, comments and shares around the content I post. It’s validating and almost addictive. By monitoring and customizing my programming for my audience on a daily basis, I have turned into a broadcast network no different from ABC or NBC.

Professionally, in my role at Northlich, I constantly evaluate the content from my clients and their competitors. The Golden Rule my son proclaimed makes sense in this arena too. The posts and content I consume from my favorite brands or the brands I am entrusted to lead often seems underwhelming and not strategic in building brand equity. As a result, I am compelled to share the wisdom of a 7-year-old boy so the purity and simplicity of his words, and some observations of my own, can inspire colleagues, clients and brands I know and love.

Get connected with your brand

I mean really connected. Do you know what your brand stands for? If there is no intimacy there, you shouldn’t post social content on behalf of your brand.

Pay attention to what your audience wants

If you are connected with your brand, you will care what your audience thinks and naturally create the content they seek. This is pretty easy. A simple tally of what is getting the most likes, comments and shares is a good start.

Start a two-way conversation

You are engaging people, not posts. Your audience wants the same engagement you crave on your personal networks. So give them content they can share to help them look good. Your goal should be to land in their Facebook or Twitter feed.

Get over yourself!

No one wants more information about your company and how great you think you are. Just look at your personal Facebook page. If it looks anything like mine, you’ll notice the most engagement is around third-party posts, inspiring stories, hilarious pictures, quotes and video clips. Most of my posts have nothing to do with me, but they represent who I am and what I stand for. Remember: people are looking for an escape when they spend time on social networks. If you don’t give them that opportunity, they will ignore you.

And if you can’t remember any of these commandments, just remember the Golden Rule and the wisdom of my son:

“Tweet others as you would have others tweet you.”