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Content vs. Connections – The Push and Pull of Social Media

You don’t have to look through your RSS feed for very long to find a variety of blog posts about the staying power of Facebook, or the adoption (or lack thereof) of Google+. I recently ran across this insightful post that discusses how Facebook is inherently more about connections (people you know) and Google+ is more about content (sharing similar interests). While I don’t disagree with the author’s assessment, I would challenge the fact that one social platform is inherently created for one purpose or the other. As communicators and marketers the conversation shouldn’t be content vs. connections, but rather how the two work together.

To use a personal example, I had never heard of the Adventure Journal until they came up in a Twitter search. As an outdoorsy-type, I enjoyed their content and liked them on Facebook so I could receive their content on that platform as well. It had little to do with a personal connection, and everything to do with content.

On the flipside, I’ve discovered more than a handful of individuals and brands on Google+ because of their content, which have also turned into meaningful connections (in-person meetings, business opportunities, etc.).

Social media offers individuals and businesses amazing opportunities to find and be found, to create and consume. Its less about which platforms serve which function and more about how we make connections (customers, friends, brands) through meaningful content (text, data, photos, video). In order to do so you have to first understand your audience; where they can be found and where they will find you, what they want to create and what they want to consume. Then go find them, create the content that allows them to easily find you and build on that relationship or connection by talking with them, not at them.

Let’s stop looking at content and connections as black and white, separate discussions, and start talking about how they can work together to use social media as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Jim Licko is a Senior Director of Social Media and Digital Strategy at GroundFloor Media.

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