With the spurt of social media engagement across-board, we have seen a similar spurt in content distribution across various social media platforms. Videos, pictures, audios and broadcast texts either go around in circles in an honest effort to share information and entertainment or they go around in deliberate chains.
An example of a deliberate chain is mannequin challenge. If you are unaware of what this is, it was an internet sensation of viral videos that show people standing still like mannequins and remaining motionless for about a minute or more, as a moving camera records the entire scene, moving from one person to another. This viral video challenge started with a group of high school students from Edward H. White High School in Florida.
Although most people participated in and enjoyed watching videos from the challenge, they barely knew the origin of the video. It was interesting to watch and follow – the creativity and uniqueness of the challenge made it relevant and that was where it ended.
Another good example of content that does not enhance your life in any way and yet, received attention and attained some relevance was the ‘Ladder challenge’ in Ghana. This chain of videos shows people of all ages and tribes attempting various stunts to re-enact an old gospel music video that resurfaced.
On the WhatsApp social media platform, we find that a lot of stories and pieces of advice are shared with a concluding message of: ‘forward to all friends and loved ones. save a life’ or ‘forwarded as received.’ These messages either caution or share insightful titbits that enhance your knowledge.
I find that a lot of social media users respond positively to the entertaining videos as compared to the educational ones. Everyone likes to feel relaxed and have a laugh once a while. However, not a lot of people like to be told what to do, think, or act. With this in mind, content creators are usually torn between producing and sharing funny content that adds no value and producing informational content that is important and beneficial to the average viewer or reader.
Whether your aim is to give relevant content or give interesting content, here are a few tips that will help you in your quest.
- Keep your target audience in mind. This will not only inform the way you present your content but will also advice you on how it should be sent out. Is your market the type that enjoy reading long texts on WhatsApp or do they prefer to watch funny videos or listen to audio notes? Craft your messages as such or you can have a blend.
- Make it relatable: If I am in your target market, but cannot relate to anything in the video, I will probably not share it or even give you feedback. Making content relatable is what distinguishes exceptional content from less-than-average content. You may even notice that with relatable content, there may be some outliers who do not fall in your target market and yet, will help propagate your content.
- Make a point and make it unique: Considering the cliched statement: ‘There is nothing new under the sun,’ you should not be afraid to reuse good content. However, in making your point, you need to be unique and tell the narrative in an original way. If your content is useful and helpful, a new angle of presenting it will hardly make it boring. With the uproar of funny videos and viral content, you will notice that some videos or stories do not have a point. With material of that nature, it is obvious that the sole aim for production was to generate traffic as opposed to adding value to viewers and readers.
- Follow conversations: Your content can increase relevance when it adds to a discussion that has already begun. This way, instead of reiterating a message that has already been pushed out, your content will be viewed as additional relevant content. Doing research to find out what is trending on social media will help you refine your content to address these issues and keep you relevant in the media.
- Allow your sense of humour to show: Be sure to incorporate some humour in your material, unless it is a weighty message. Do not be afraid to crack a joke or draw upon popular culture references. The more natural your content is, the more it will sit well with viewers and readers.
Ideally, the information you share should add value to your viewers and listeners. In a world of rampant viral video chains, be sure to keep your content insightful, relatable and relevant.