Content Marketing

Why You Shouldn’t Give Your Social Media Audience the Content They Want


It may seem counterintuitive, but there is actually good reason for why the content your business’ social media audience wants, is not the content your organization should be creating and publishing.

Increasingly, consumer-centric businesses and social media marketers are using a variety of social listening tools, data and analytics, and various types of research to determine themes and formats for content that will resonate most strongly with their audience.

The trouble with this approach is that if there isn’t a strong correlation between the content your social media audience wants and how that content will positively impact business or marketing objectives, then giving them what they want will yield no real business results. So what’s the point?

There are a few things to keep in mind that may influence whether you create and publish the content for which your audience is creating a pull:

The content your audience wants is only relevant if your audience is relevant

As I alluded to previously, if you are planning to create and publish content based on a pull from your audience, you should only entertain the idea if you are confident that your audience is relevant to your business.

Historically, and continuing today, there is enormous emphasis to grow social media audiences as quickly and large as possible. Frequently, this results in fans, followers and subscribers being attained that aren’t within your targeted demographic, nor are they likely to ever be consumers or influencers of consumption for your business.

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Creating and publishing content for an off-target audience will be meaningless for your real current and prospective consumers.

Business needs may require the creation of content that your audience doesn’t want… yet

There are circumstances, even if your social media audience is highly relevant to your business, that it can make strategic sense to create and publish content that your audience doesn’t necessarily want.

An example of this is if your business is expanding into a new product or service category, your new offerings may be designed to serve an entirely new consumer segment.

In a case such as this, you may find yourself creating content that will appeal to an entirely new target audience in hopes of attracting them to your existing social media communities.

Of course, an option here is to create new communities for these particular offerings, but this approach may not necessarily make sense or be feasible.

Your audience may not know what they want

In my experience, when you ask people what they want from your content, they’ll regurgitate something they already have access to. If social listening and historical data and analytics are your only method to determine what content to create, you’re not stetting your organization up to do anything truly unique, ownable or inspiring.

To avoid the trap of creating essentially the same content as all of your competitors, or ripping-off what other organizations are creating, embrace a test and learn approach to content creation. Consider allocating a certain percentage of the content you create to experiment or test new content themes or formats, or more subtle variations on the tried and true.


Do you allow your audience to create a pull for content?

How have you cultivated a social media audience that is hyper relevant to your business?

Have you ever created and published content for an entirely new consumer segment?

How do you measure the effectiveness of the content your organization creates?

It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial


  Discuss This Article

Comments: 1

  • Matthew,
    Great article (and perfect image to go with it!). You raised very important points regarding thought leadership content- especially for consulting and professional service firms. Who want’s yesterday’s news? My most powerful content (and most popular over time) peaks over time – when the market catches up to the new idea.

    Thanks for raising this topic in a world obsessed with connecting social share numbers with perception of value. At Leader Networks we actually took down all the social share counters because numbers are not the only measure of an idea.

    Vanessa DiMauro
    Leader Networks

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