Last night I shared some thoughts on how to be a better community manager with the group going through a community manager training program put on by The Social Lights. Most of my talk focused on how to deeply understand a brand and how that understanding will help them be better at what they do for the brand(s) they serve.
Near the end of my talk, I shared a few loosely connected bits of advice not tied to the main two sections of my presentation. One of those points was that adding value to a community or conversation is far greater than solely seeking attention. If you post content only for the sake of seeking attention, you're not doing anyone any good, especially the brand you're representing.
As an example of this, I used Oreo's tweet regarding the #RoyalBaby. Oreo gets a lot of attention for how well they handle their social media accounts. Especially with the Super Bowl blackout, where they used humor to add value to an annoying moment for viewers who also happened to be tracking the game and peripheral events to the game with social media.
Here though, Oreo seems out of place. Nobody is looking for them to be in this conversation and nobody is going to miss them if they're not there. They're not adding value to the conversation. They're merely taking advantage of all the eyeballs tracking the royal baby news on social media.
The people who are interested in following this conversation are looking for real news announcements about the royal baby. They're not looking for brands hijacking the hashtag to throw an ad in their face. To be fair, Oreo was nowhere close to as offensive as some of the brands trying to get in on the attention.
My advice to the group was to always consider the value of what they're posting on behalf of a brand before they do so. If the only motive for posting something is to get attention, they should not move forward with the post. I asked them to find a way to make what they do valuable in some form. And yes, sometimes humor is an appropriate form of adding value. But not always.
Using humor really comes back to understanding the brand(s). By understanding the brand deeply, you'll know exactly when and where the brand should tell an appropriate joke (appropriate for the brand, the audience and the occasion). You'll also know when not to do this.
The final note I left them with on this particular point was that there is a funny twist on the way I wrote the thought out (which was just like the headline to this post). I told them that if they focused on adding value to communities and conversations, the "greater than" symbol turns into an arrow in that adding value leads to getting attention for the brand. This is the kind of attention a brand should seek.