The social media gratification battle
It will be super amazing if you post a picture, write an article, post a video/graphic, or create any content and you get all the engagement in the world. While that is a reality of some people, life is not always like that, especially at the beginning of content creation.
A couple of people reached out to me recently for ideas/advice to start creating content in their subject areas. After listing all the possible platforms, they could use, highlighting some strategies that have worked for me and I have seen work for others, the biggest and the only advice I had was “Don’t chase the engagement,” especially as you begin.
As a product manager, this advice doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me because whenever we embark on starting or creating anything, one of the most important things for us is what metric(s) do we use to track success and for someone creating content well engagements (likes, page visits, shares, etc.) seem like the answers. But hear me out, I gave that advice because:
1. Chasing engagements is the one reason why people quit so early: When you start creating any type of content, there are many stages you have to go through, like establishing credibility, finding your audience, developing your style (writing, video, or whatever) and many other steps. If you focus very early on just getting 100 likes, 1000 likes, to be honest, you might quit if that doesn’t come after two (2) months or six (6) months of you creating. If you do get the likes, you might never be fulfilled with your work because you will always chase the likes. 100 likes now, 1000 next, 10,000 next, and when does it stop?
I am a massive J Cole fan and in his recent documentary, he talked about how his current goal is challenging himself to be the best possible rapper/writer he can be skill-wise and through the body of work he pushes out. That’s my advice; know why you are creating the content. It is hard but try to stay grounded in that, focus on being the best you that you can be skill-wise in the space you are in (consistently develop your craft), and the most cliché advice of them all but the everlasting truth and one I am still working on — be consistent. Doing all that leads to you creating value, creating quality content, and generating impact, and when you hit those, the engagement will come.
2. Chasing engagements is also one of the fastest ways to water down the quality of your work: When you start seeing an increase in engagement, it is a sign that you are doing the right things, and people are finding value in your work and to be honest, that feeling is amazing. What you don’t want to do is get addicted or too attached to constantly seeing those likes and comments that you start to feel so much pressure to push out content. This pressure leads to you putting out subpar work because now you are just posting for posting sake and seeing many likes and comments pop on your notification section. For any creative or creator from a development standpoint, you are truly doing yourself no favors.
Additionally, what happens when you make that one post, and it doesn’t do as well as the other? Now you start deleting the content you create, and you start doubting your work because you have based your success on the gratification of others. The advice here remains the same, try to be as consistent as possible and enjoy that you are bringing value to others but never let that pressure you, give you anxiety or get you so addicted to likes that the quality of your work begins to suffer.
3. People are always watching regardless: I have gotten messages like “I have been following your writings/posts for over a year, and they are super helpful, or they helped me achieve ___” and many of the time, some of these people I have never seen/noticed them like my content or comment. I say this because we all have goals and our “whys” for creating any sort of content, and I want you to know there is a crowd that sees you always, they follow you, some support and advocate for you. And people are being inspired, impacted, or just happy with your content while you might never know them all or only get a message like that once in a while; that is proof that beyond the likes and comments, your content is still impactful, inspiring and joyful!
On this content creation journey, “just do it!” Strive to get better as you look to create impact, inspire, spread joy, or color with your content. Keep pushing out content, knowing that there will always be people watching and consuming and that the more you do it, the engagements and other outcomes you hope for will come.
Olaseni Adeniji (#senispeaks)