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Friday, May 8, 2009

The Role of Content and Action in Social Media

The social media breakfast in Austin this morning focused on content development and creation. Lionel Menchaca at Dell, Simon Salt of Incslingers, and Natanya Anderson of Powered spoke from different perspectives on the value of content.  

The underlying message consistent through each presentation was that content cannot be about your company.  I'll quote the speakers, they said it well this morning.

Natanya: The best content is created in service of others.

Lionel: Your company has to be committed to action in response to social feedback.

Simon: If the content is "push" it's not social media. It's just media. Social media is all about interaction and sharing.

What struck me today is that one of the most talked about foundations of social media -- listening -- is really only getting you halfway. The other foundation that must also be in place to support a successful social media endeavor is 'action.'  The content is not the end (after listening), it is the means (to taking action).

For the consumer, especially when dealing with what was termed 'lifestyle content' the consumer is typically looking for information to help them do something. It's not often just to inform them, it's about an action they want to take. And when they are able to take that action, users will start generating their own content around those experiences.

For the producer, the content needs to be a way to encourage the audience to take the actions they want -- and that's usually not 'buy my stuff.' But, as Lionel said, the content producer also needs to be ready to act on feedback they receive. Those responses will help shape the understanding of what your audience cares about and how to help them achieve it.

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