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Social Relevance: Improving Your Signal-to-Noise Ratio

by Randall Craig on May 17, 2013

Filed in: Blog, Blogging, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: , , ,

No one cares about you – they care about how you can solve their problems. Write for your readers.

These two expressions epitomize the most important marketing (and social media) concept: relevance. How often have you seen a post, picture, tweet, or comment that adds zero value? Or where the signal-to-noise ratio is, well, noisy?

When it comes to using social media as a professional tool, there is a subtle shift that must happen. Instead of a self (or corporate) focus, the post must be designed to be user-relevant, and user-focused. It’s true that celebrities (and politicians) often break this rule, but they would do better if they were more relevant.

Social relevance isn’t rocket science – here are five tips that can help:

  1. Define the primary and secondary audience for your Facebook and Twitter updates, tweets, videos, and blogs.
  2. Define the overall goal and the high level messaging that you need each audience to adopt.
  3. Brainstorm on the key information needs of the target audiences. And if you’re not sure, ask. The intersection of this and your goal/messaging should define your overall theme.
  4. Brainstorm specific post topics within this theme.
  5. Seek to engage, not just broadcast. A great barometer of relevance is the degree of engagement. If there are no shares, likes, or comments, your post may not have hit the mark.

This week’s action plan: What’s your signal-to-noise ratio? This week, review all of your social posts, using this five-point checklist as your criteria. (Are the posts really written for a targeted audience? Does it appear that there is an underlying goal? Are the topic choices important to the audience? And on a similar theme? Is there engagement?) If the posts are too wide-ranging and diffuse, then start writing for your reader: they will care about you once you begin solving their problems.

Competitive insight: Reviewing your competitor’s social posts can often give you insight to their marketing strategy: reverse engineering what they have been saying, provides visibility to their priorities and goals.

Postscript: Read the last 30 (or 300) posts of mine at What is my signal-to-noise ratio?

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

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Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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