THE BLOG
08/26/2013 06:41 pm ET | Updated Oct 26, 2013

Social Media Is the New Television -- How Does Your Channel Look?

"I believe entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."
-- Steve Martin

People are spending huge amounts of time on social media now possibly because they are bored, looking to be entertained or they are just hooked on being digitally connected. A lapse in the conversation leads to the inevitable social media check in on your smart phone or tablet which is always nearby. You know you do it! And this leads to the iPhone effect "shortly after one person in the group brings out their iPhone, the rest follow suit, ultimately ending all conversation and eye contact." Then the "oh my gosh, look at this funny photo that George Takei just shared."

Why do people go online and what do they do when they are there? According to a study done by Experian Marketing Services, "in the U.S., sixteen minutes out of every hour online is spent on social networking and forums, nine minutes on entertainment sites and five minutes shopping."

"Understanding consumer behavior across channels is more important than ever as more visits are being made on the move, particularly among social networking and email," says Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services. "With smart phones and tablets becoming more powerful, our data clearly indicates the difference between mobile and traditional desktop usage further enabling the 'always on' consumer mentality. Marketers need to understand these differences to ensure campaigns can be tailored for better and more effective engagement."

From Jay Baer in his new book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype, "what you have is an intermingled mixture of information that matters to you because of personal relationships, and information that matters to you because of commercial relationships. It's not just Facebook, either. Twitter works the same way, as do YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, e-mail, blogs, and podcasts, too. For the first time, companies have to compete on the very same turf as our family and friends, using the very same tools and technologies and media and messaging as consumers."

I know that you've worked hard to build your content strategy but having a laser beam focus on only your brand doesn't always build or maintain people's attention which is as best around seven to ten seconds. The average attention span was twelve seconds in 2000 and was eight seconds in 2012 according to Statistic Brain. Wow, right?

So, what does this mean for today's social media marketers and professionals? You need to be entertaining and add some fun into your social media content mix. Promoting only your product, book or blog non-stop won't be interesting to anyone, most likely not even yourself. Keeping your ratio of content at 80 percent other people's content (OPC) and 20 percent your own content will help you but don't be too dry or stuffy when you create your editorial calendar.

How can you add some zing into your content? Here are a few ideas that work for me:

  • Hit up the wacky holiday calendar. Did you know that July 7th is National Chocolate Day?
  • Check out the popular pins on Pinterest for something trending and interesting.
  • Holy Kaw on Alltop is consistently random source of fun content.
  • What's Hot on Google+ is a diverse offering of posts.
  • Create a content list on Feedly with interesting blogs
  • Create a Google+ circle or Twitter list with a handful of people who share consistently awesome content. Keep the list under ten so it isn't overwhelming when you check it.

I'm not suggesting that you railroad your brand or water down your solid content, just that you also make sure that you're interesting and worth following on social media. You want your content to remain relevant and rich.

Being boring is the kiss of death for any social interaction. Social media is the new television. How does your channel look?