Impression vs. Inspiration: The Two Levels of Social Media
What’s the difference between impression and inspiration on social media?
Impression vs. Inspiration: The Levels of Social Media
The first level, impression, is where most social media content lives. It’s the force that drives people to post photos of their new cars, their children and their tropical vacations. It’s concerned with impressing the audience. But it’s not as engaging as next-level, inspirational content is because it doesn’t move the audience to do anything (except maybe comment on how happy/envious someone is.)
Most people don’t get past the first level because they’re not at all concerned with social media marketing. They simply want to share pictures of their experiences with their social circles and be done with it. They create and share simple, dead-end content that moves people to pay attention to them for a brief period of time before scrolling to the next impressive post.
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There’s nothing wrong with first level, impressive content— unless you’re trying to position yourself as an influencer with the ability to inspire and educate an audience.
If your personal brand is also your business, you’ve got a lot to consider when you think about sharing content.
Related: Are Influencers Losing Their Influence?
I’ve talked about the importance of separating business and personal life, but the ability to discern between what’s impressive to your social circle versus what’s good content for your brand is the first rule of influencer content. Your photos with your family over the holidays probably turned out great, but your brand’s digital audience doesn’t care about your half-drunk selfie with your second cousin.
The Inspiration Behind Social Media
Keep your mission in mind when posting anything. If the content doesn’t fit in with or add to your mission or identity, it takes away from it. Remember the rule of quality over quantity— less is more if you don’t have anything valuable to add.
What’s valuable to your audience? It depends on why they follow you. If you’re established on social media, you probably know what kind of content gets the most attention (and therein lies your answer of why people follow you.) But if you’re new to the influencer game, consider what you offer your audience in your corner of the digital world. Is your eye and attention to detail— simply visual? Or your ability to instill passion or awe in others? Is it your humor and the way you make your audience laugh? Maybe you’re an expert on a topic and your content helps others to understand something.
Related: How To Become a Microinfluencer
It doesn’t matter what your niche is— figure it out and share content that relates to that.
Remember the golden rule of influencer branding: your content should create value for your audience rather than existing as a soapbox for your life and achievements. People follow accounts that they find beautiful, educational and inspirational. Even though you’re the hand beneath the puppet, your content is for them, not for you.
Aim To Educate
If you’re posting content with an aim to educate, include links that send your audience to more information (preferably on your own website.)
If you’re posting visual content, stick to a scheme (color, subject matter, or style). People like to know what to expect to an extent when they choose to follow an account. Too much deviation from a developed style can cause followers to lose attention.
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If you’re posting content to inspire others, figure out which of your previous posts have been most effective. Ask questions to engage your audience. The more engagement you get, the better. Engagement is also something brands look for when scouting influencers for representation and sponsorships.
Ultimately, your content should allow your audience to trust you to provide them with great content. They want to know what they’re going to get up front, and they want you to keep delivering.