This article is going to be about the difference between SEO content and social media content. And, yes, I know that’s a mouthful, and we’re gonna get to that soon!
But first, at the time that I’m writing this, I just dropped off my three and a half year old for his first day of school. And if you think that means that I am sitting in a ball of tears, you’re wrong — I could not be more excited, more ecstatic.
- We actually have the opportunity for him to have in-person school.
- We’re nearing another milestone.
And I’m probably about three and a half or four weeks into homeschooling my nine-year-old, so I felt like we’re back into the fall swing of things. And that feeling for a lot of people, I know, means that it’s time to start taking things seriously again. (Not that you spent all summer goofing off, I know I did not at all have much of a break.) But there’s a feeling as the fall air starts changing, a feeling as you begin to wrap up for the year that it’s time to buckle down and start to take things in a different view.
For a lot of people, that’s going to mean looking at how their marketing has been performing for the last three quarters of the year, and what changes you can make for this last quarter of the year. What can you do to make things more efficient? What can you do to release things? And that is why we’re going to be talking about SEO.
I wanted to share this because there is a huge difference between SEO content and social media content. And I don’t think that this is talked about enough in the online marketing circles. I talk a lot about content. I talk about how you can repurpose content, I even tell you guys that I repurpose my podcast content into blog articles, and one of the reasons I do that is for search engine optimization.
Why? Well, SEO is going to give you long-term results. It is a slow game. But it is a good game. And if you have the goal of having a business that has longevity or staying power, it’s something that you can’t ignore forever. So let’s dive in here.
SEO content is built for searching. Keywords, the breadth of the subject matter, it all counts. Social media, however, is not a search engine. It’s why when you hear people talk about Pinterest, you’re hearing them say it’s not social media, Pinterest is a search engine. YouTube operates as a search engine. But Instagram, not so much. That Facebook post you put out, definitely not. Because social media is not a search engine, you need to take the one really big thing from this article, one really big learning lesson. And I talk about this in my Content Creation RX lead magnet.
This is one of the big content mistakes I see people do consistently in social media. And I’ve been talking about it for over a year. And I’m seeing so much of it. And maybe it’s that situation where you buy a gray car, and suddenly you only see gray cars on the road, but I see a lot of this.
Social media is not a search engine, so stop posting facts, info dumps, and how-tos as part of your regular social media content.
Sparingly? Sure, go ahead and post it. But not as the majority of your content.
Here’s an example to really put this into the forefront of your mind, and this is a personal example. I’m dealing with some health issues right now and I have been for a couple years but this past winter, I decided you know, I should probably take care of some of this stuff. So did a big round of bloodwork. A huge surprise was my iron levels were sky high.
Now, this is after I’ve had chronic low iron my entire life, as many adult females do. I mean, it was so bad when I was pregnant, I was drinking liquid iron twice a day just to keep them at a reasonable level. So much to my surprise in December, my iron levels were crazy high, well above average. And I was instructed to stop taking my iron supplement. I did. And I had my bloodwork redone at the end of May, and my iron levels hadn’t dropped really at all, so we did some genetic testing. Don’t worry, the reason we did that did not end up panning out. I am fine. There are no scary diseases on the horizon here.
I’ve already decreased my use of the cast iron pan. Obviously, if I’m looking at iron-rich foods I want to avoid, I have to look that up. Now, to look that up, I am not going to go hop on Instagram, search for a nutritionist, and scroll through all of their posts looking for info on iron. We both know that would take forever.
I could do a hashtag search on Insta. But since I just did that, like a minute ago, let me tell you–it is hard to find info on avoiding iron-rich foods while still keeping your macros in check. I found a ton on iron deficiency, but not so much on what I need other than basic info like avoiding your cast iron pan. And I already knew that.
So where did I go? I did consult with my doctor. Don’t worry, I did do that. But I also Googled it because I wanted to get a really extensive list of things I should be avoiding. And I did get the answers I need for now from googling, but not from Instagram.
That is a perfect case study of the kind of content you want on Instagram versus on your blog or on your YouTube channel.
And for those of you who love poking holes in things I say, don’t tell me, “Oh, they can save it for later,” because I save a lot of posts that I never look back on. And because I save so many posts, it would still be a scroll, scroll scroll. Where did that go? Ooh, did I even save that? I don’t know. I’m just going to go hop over to Google now.
That is the difference between SEO content and social media content.
Here’s another example, it’s also health-related. A friend of mine at my gym noted that my squat form isn’t the greatest. Now, on Instagram, I actually just went and searched right before I wrote up my notes for this article, and I found a bunch of posts tagged #squatrack or #squatchallenge. But they seemed like they were filled with amateurs.
How am I, someone who already has bad form on squats, supposed to know which one is showing good form, and which one is not? Enter YouTube, an actual search engine, where there are a plethora of really great videos showing good form. So what was I able to do? I was able to look at those good form videos, and then do some squats in the mirror, and try to figure out where I was going wrong and correct my form.
That’s another great example on how going to Instagram or Facebook or other social media channels for a specific problem, even if you’re searching hashtags, isn’t going to gain wonderful results. But going to a search engine like YouTube or Pinterest or Google is going to get you a better quality answer and an answer that’s easier to find quickly.
Now before we move on, let’s touch back on what I mentioned earlier in the episode: one of those really big content mistakes I see on social media. It is accounts that primarily do info dump kind of posts — posting a fact, posting a quote, posting a how-to — and all of it without reference or context.
And honestly, the poster is probably thinking that they’re doing a good thing, that they’re giving good value. Instead, what everybody should be doing is posting content that gets your audience thinking about their problem and how to approach it differently. That is the ticket for good content on social media.
Info dump content fails on social media
Now that we’ve covered that again, I’m going to go with this whole health kick that we have for this episode.
Here is an example of how to turn your how-to or fact or info dump kind of content around. I follow a company on Instagram called Organic Burst. I used to make a lot of smoothies and I actually really like their supplements. They’re in powder form, they’re brightly colored so they’re fun — because I’m totally a sucker for packaging and they have good packaging as well.
At the time I wrote this, they had a few posts about cacao and, yes, fans of Portlandia, I’m so sorry for what you are envisioning in your head right now (and if you are not familiar with that reference, don’t Google it, you’re fine). Did you know cacao can boost healthy gut bacteria? That was one of the posts. And I was like, “Huh, that’s actually really interesting.” It’s getting me to think about my gut more, I actually didn’t know that eating cacao could be good for my gut.
So their post then went on to say, “try one tablespoon daily.” My analysis on this part of the post, not so great. How am I going to remember where to find this info when I do decide to try this in the future in my next smoothie? So if I were going to grade that post, overall, it’s like an A for effort, but C for execution. It got me thinking, but then it went into information that I wouldn’t be able to reference in five days when I make a smoothie, or in a month when I make a smoothie.
Now their second post. They now had “how to choose the best cacao” and then they listed six different ways that you want to reference when you’re choosing which brand of cacao to buy. I’m not gonna remember any of those six. And since I actually made the notes for this article two or three weeks ago, I can 100% tell you, I don’t remember any of those six. So the grade is C-. It’s not enough. Because it did get me thinking, “Oh, I can’t just buy cacao at my local Safeway.” But I’m not going to remember any of the information they gave. And if I were to try and go back two or three weeks to where they had that information on their account, it would take a while.
Alright, the third post. Is your cacao contaminated with cadmium and lead? This is the very next post that was actually after the six things you want to take notice of when you’re choosing cacao. And this actually was an expansion on one of those six facts on how to choose, and it really got me thinking about cacao differently. I had no idea that cadmium and lead could be an issue in cacao, first of all, and it’s something that’s totally going to stick in my head the next time I’m buying a stack of dark chocolate for headaches. So the grade on this post — A.
Is it informative? Kind of an info dump? Yeah, it is. But it’s picking a fact, giving me context around that fact (why does it actually matter to me?), it gets me thinking, and now I’m naturally going to associate Organic Bursts and their cacao as part of the solution because it got me thinking differently about their product, which in turn will help me with one of my problems, gut bacteria.
Social Media Content Checklist
This is a rundown on how I like to look at content.
- Does it get me thinking differently about my problem?
- Is it information that’s relevant? Is it information that’s really going to help my best client? Is it information that’s going to stick in their head?
- Is it something that gives them enough of a push to go with whatever call to action I have on this post?
I hope that helps your content creation woes. I hope that helps you understand the difference between SEO content and social media content.
If you want more examples, more how-tos on how to shift your own content to be more useful to your audience, to be more sticky in their mind like this, and not just the info dumps that we were talking about, you’re going to want to come check out my free guide. It’s called the Content Creation RX. It is meant to be the prescription to all your content creation woes.