Four reasons why social media is like … a goldfish

So far we’ve covered the reasons why social media is like a game of tennis, a dinner party, a game of pool, skydiving and high school.

So what’s next? How about a goldfish?

Reasons why social media is like a goldfish

1. It has a memory that only lasts for six seconds

It’s a well-worn cliche that goldfish have a very, very short attention span and a memory that is fleeting at best.

Your average social media user is really no different. One minute they are looking at you and taking on board your key message … the next minute they’ve flicked you off the screen with your thumb because the incoming vibration meant something super exciting had just hit their device … or not.

One of the things about developing content for use in social media is that once it’s drifted past your audience in their News Feed, Twitter Feed or even inbox, it’s gone.  How do you combat that?  Not through finding one blog or Facebook post that ticks all the boxes and will be entered into the Comedy Hall of Fame.  It’s more about consistency of message that is targetted to the benefit need of your audience than anything else. It’s the dripfeed effect that means your audience is constantly reminded of you, your product, your service – your existence, really.

2. It requires constant attention.

Goldfish require constant attention and care – if you stop feeding them they will die.

The same thing happens in your social media program.  You cannot post once every six months and hope to be top-of-mind when they move to a position of transactional behaviour.

You cannot place a message in a community once in a blue moon and hope the community feels you’re providing value.  It requires your constant attention to ensure that your audience or community is well fed.

3. If you feed it too much or the wrong thing, it will die.

The flipside to point 2 is that if you overfeed goldfish they will die.  The general rule of thumb is that you need to feed them enough so they’ll prosper and any uneaten food will gradually clog up their environment and kill them. Or you determine that you prefer steak over fish food, so you feed your goldfish a juicy cut of sirloin based on your preferences.  And they die.  It’s the right food for you, not them.

Guess what?  The same thing happens in social media communities.  If you post every 30 minutes for two weeks – and because you’re stuck for ideas, you simply post ANYTHING, those unnoticed posts will gradually clog up the community and kill it.  Your community isn’t craving quantity, they’re craving quality.  And they don’t email you to tell you they’re disengaged.  They just disengage. And it’s very, very difficult to win them back.

And the right food for any social media community is based on benefit – to them, not you.  It’s almost irrelevant what you want to say … the best way to keep a community going is to translate that into what the community wants (or needs) to hear.

4.Overcrowding them is simply not good.

You cannot put too many fish into a small bowl and hope they’ll all survive.  They need room to breathe and they require oxygen.

The same thing happens to social media.  If you overcrowd your communication with too many channels, that can hamper your chances of success.  Your communication needs room to breathe, for people to take messages on board and respond IN THEIR TIME. Jamming all of your key sales messages, all of your product releases, all of your service improvements and all of your brand messaging into a short space just means people can’t breathe.  And in a world where people know they hold the whip hand when it comes to transactions and brand connection, you need to let them breathe.

Have a talk to us about how your social media can thrive through the right strategy and creative.

We’ve got longer memories than goldfish.  Tanks.  (See what we did there?)

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