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Professionalism and Content Quality in Social Media
By: Ryan Stoldt
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In early 2013, Twitter launched its version of embeddable video, Vine. Unlike YouTube and Vimeo, Vine requires all of its videos to run at six seconds. Like most social networks that become popular extremely quickly, marketers jumped onto Vine as soon as it launched. Because of the time limitations, marketers faced a major challenge. That challenge led to some awful six-second commercials. Both phone-quality video and poor brand messaging raised major questions: What is the importance of professionalism and quality in content creation for social media? What social media sites should be used by an organization for professional purposes?

One side of the argument believes that info should be put out quickly and frequently. These marketers focus on the idea of “any connection being a good connection." By focusing on getting content out, an organization takes on a personable tone. An example of this can be seen in Wheat Thins’ support of the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII via Vine. The organization used Wheat Thins crackers to spell out their support for their team (Sorry about the game, Wheat Thins and 49ers). Simple? Yes. Something anyone could do? Yes. Also extremely personable because of that though.
The other side of the argument is pretty obvious to most marketers. First, quality is important. No one wants to read content with misspellings or conflicting meanings. Nor do they want to see shaky phone videos. Secondly, organizations must consider how social media content relates to the organization’s overall message. Most marketers know that quickly crafting content leads to sloppy messaging. Sloppiness usually doesn’t connect to anyone. Going back to the previous example, did the Wheat Thins’ Vine video make fans want to buy and eat their product? Probably not, but debatable. It did not match the quality of other Wheat Thins overall campaigns and commercials though, nor did it match their overall messaging strategy.
So what does all of this mean? Organizations must look at the argument about quality via the two main arguments from both sides — a brand’s personality and a brand’s larger messaging goals. Before a business jumps onto a social media site, they should first consider how it fits into their overall messaging strategy. If it doesn’t fit, they shouldn’t use it. After that, they should consider how the organization’s brand can balance personality and messaging. Gap’s Vine account is a perfect example of this. Their account focuses on the organization’s long history as a recognized brand, but balances that message current products and styles. By creating a balance like Gap has achieved, brands can create cheap, decent quality video with high-quality content that will engage customers and provide value to them.

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About the Author
Ryan Stoldt is a digital strategist with a B.A. in Integrated Marketing Communications from Wichita State University. Find him online here
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