10 Social Media marketing button alternatives that would actually make finding quality information online easier.

Social Media MarketingIt’s a maze. And you’re the rat racing around looking for the cheese. The world online is still a massive puzzle, made from riddles dressed as enigmas, inside a box of confusion wrapped in a bow of befuddlement. Navigating the endless sea of social media marketing and general information and finding what you truly want to learn and experience online is actually quite difficult. I believe one of the reasons could be measures of social media approval and popularity are too general.
If you explore any of the major social media platforms, you will find that there generally is only one highly non-specific option (apart from commenting) to indicate a quality piece of information. On Facebook, you can ‘Like’ something, on Google you can +1, or you can digg, or stumble on, share, or pin, or retweet or whatever the latest option is based on the platform you’re using. However, how much information does this actually give you about the quality of what you are about to experience?
If a person or a group of people ‘likes’ something, the reason behind why they ‘like’ it may be completely different to why you may ‘like’ it. In fact, what they ‘like’ may be the very thing you dislike, or are simply not interested in. Therefore, finding quality information online becomes more time consuming because of this lack of specificity. You will have to scroll through more information before you start to find what you are really looking for.
The question then becomes, what are you actually looking for? The answer is a quality experience tailored to your own personal preferences. It is not just the type of information, but the style of it as well. The one catch is tailoring takes time. Pressing one button instead of 5 or 10 or more is obviously faster. However, if we really want to share our experiences with others online, than having a selection of perhaps 5, up to 10 buttons for a genre would really demonstrate how the information is being experienced.

In reality, it would only take an extra few seconds to do, and not every button needs to be pressed or considered by each person. However, the tallies would really indicate at a glance what the information is really about.

I believe this would also force information providers to become more aware of how they want their information to be experienced. Here are 10 social media buttons with amendable definitions to consider for the business/self-development type niche. By reading through them now, it will also help you consider how you want your information to be experienced.


1. Value
This dimension would be based on time, cost and application. Even if the information was free, the length of time it took to go through it and perceived ease of implementation would need to be considered.


2. Insight
There is so much ‘how to’ information on the web and most of it is extremely shallow. Did the author really offer a thought provoking and illuminating analysis of the topic in question?


3. Creativity
How information is relayed is extremely important. We all have a bias towards the beautiful and the engaging. Did the author move beyond a standard format in relaying their information? Did they use video, sound, movement, imagery and so on and how did they use it?


4. Evergreen
This is a crucial category. Although not always applicable, aiming to create evergreen information should be a fundamental requirement. We all would love our contribution to be as timeless as possible and remain relevant 1, 2, 5, 10 years or more from now.


5. Practicality

People want answers and they want them now! How immediately implementable is the advice you are offering? Or alternatively, if it is not something to be implemented per se, how to the point is your information and will it be easy to refer to and use across contexts.


6. Expertise
Does the author really know what he or she is talking about and how to elegantly deliver it so it is easily understandable and digestible? Do their credentials, passions and experiences match what they are speaking about? It is very easy to try and hide behind big words and confusing terms. A true expert makes it simple and relatable.


7. Inspiration
Is the piece emotionally moving and does it compel you to take action? How the information makes you feel is critical in terms of likelihood of implementation. The information offered should both touch the heart and assist in focussing the mind.


8. Vision
What is this person really aiming to achieve with the work offered. Is it to make a quick buck or is it part of a grander goal? Someone with vision produces work that should positively shape the related industry and make a real social impact. Their work should always promote and be reflective of their deepest desires.


9. Uniqueness
To stand out from the crowd, your work has to be at least a little different. All communicators regardless of the medium used must find their own unique voice if they want their message to be heard and felt. You have to find the somewhat indefinable. What people refer to as ‘that special something’, or the ‘X-factor’ and it should be regularly represented throughout your work.


10. Wow
I consider the wow effect to be a combination of quality and surprise. How does the work move beyond standard practices and expectations? One way is to offer a greater depth and range of information and experience but there also needs to be surprises along the way on that journey. By utilizing both quality and surprise, the audience can be both impressed and intrigued in ways they can relate to and share. The wow factor is essential for creating raving, happy and loyal fans.


Not every category would be relevant for every internet search and that is the point. You may be solely focussing on practical expert information related to a particular niche on one day and may be seeking inspiration on another day. This way you would find the relevant leaders with the relevant style of pieces much faster. Over time you could have a more specified list of experts related to the style of their content.


Some people are highly practical, others more inspirational and some may have high scores across both and other categories. Such a system would also help you plan how to develop your own style of work and help you better define what you would like to be known for.


What other categories would you consider adding in relation to assessing online contributions via social media?

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