Why is social media so appealing? Why are so many people content consumers when they could spend their time much better, healthier, and more productively? I believe this is because, at its core, social media is just a game. We often think of social media as a tool for connecting with others, increasing our popularity, and spreading our message, but this is not the case.
It’s essentially just a technique for content creators to battle it out for viewers’ attention. Some people do it for fun, others for fame, and still others for profit. We act as producers or consumers for a variety of reasons, but the reality is that social media platforms are excellent at producing addictive content organically. They are designed to increase engagement and retention, so they will promote the “best” content and the “best” content producers. So, why is this important? Any game can be won, which is a useful fact. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely one of those people who wants to win the game.
I have no intention of being narrow-minded. Consumers can win the game in their own way by obtaining information quickly, but the quality of that information is determined by their own behaviour and the recommendation system of each platform. Finally, because they have less control and power, they derive less value from the game. That is why I consider them to be “losers” in general. Users are either “followers” or “followed” in various contexts. The true winners of social media, in my opinion, are those who can send information to the most people in the shortest amount of time. This implies that in some capacity, you must be a producer, creator, reviewer, distributor, or curator of material if you want to succeed on social media.
Most people (who try but fail to win at social media) fail due to psychosocial factors: they are generally in denial and lack perseverance. To put it another way, they don’t understand the game they’re playing. They don’t stick with it long enough to have a fighting chance. Playing the game does not imply simply showing up and logging into your account on a daily basis. It implies that you must make a concerted and sustained effort to win. Not only that, but your work must be superior to that of your competitors. Even if you’re just starting out, you’ll need a way to get your product (i.e. content) in front of people.
So, what is the game all about?
Each platform will have its own variants, but they will all be fundamentally the same. The goal of the game is straightforward: amass as many followers or connections as possible. Every social network is merely a network. Any network’s basic structure includes connections (messages) between nodes (users). Some platforms only have one-way connections, whereas others have bi- or multi-directional connections. Your followers, connections, and views serve as a proxy for your overall score. It is up to you to determine your own winning threshold. The goal of social media is to build the most inbound connections. You want to be the node in the graph with the most connections the central hub.
There are hundreds of strategies and tactics for achieving this goal, but the two most effective approaches I’ve seen are: Do something useful in the real world or Become a “superuser.” You can use both strategies, but most people who win the game only use one. Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Rihanna are some examples of people who have only used Strategy 1. Their Twitter profiles show that they don’t post very often, perhaps once a week (or less) on average. They have followers primarily because they have created something that people value outside of the platform. People appreciate Bieber, Perry, and Rihanna’s music audio/video, live entertainment, merchandise, and so on. Fans follow them on social media to stay up to date on their latest news; it’s simple.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a classic example of someone who only uses Strategy 2. VaynerX and VaynerMedia, two communications and media companies that have helped him amass millions of followers, are his claim to fame. He’s since used his social media celebrity to launch Resy (a reservation booking service) and invest in other businesses. He posts multiple times per day across multiple platforms. Above all, Vaynerchuk understands the game and knows how to win it. In fact, he has teams of people working to help him win on multiple platforms.
Then there are those who use both strategies, and it stands to reason that they are among the most successful. Because they’re going full throttle, they’ll have the best chance of winning over time. This includes Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Cristiano Ronaldo (politicians will not be covered in this post). They’ve both created valuable products and businesses — or, in Ronaldo’s case, provided entertainment services. But, aside from that, they post frequently, usually once per day (or more). This makes them a rare breed that creates things that others value in the real world while also constantly churning out content. This combination necessitates skill, luck, and a great deal of energy.
So, how can I improve?
Improving your game, like any other, boils down to a few key principles:
– Acquire a thorough understanding of the game’s “rules.”
– Learn from the best.
– Stick to the “variations” that you excel at.
– Practice, practise, and practise some more
Let’s go over each of those steps individually:
Acquire a thorough understanding of the game’s “rules.”
To succeed, you must first understand how the game works. What actions are you permitted to take? Do you understand all of your options? How many points can you score per move? What defines success and failure? In the case of Twitter, you have several basic options available to you:
– Send out a tweet
– Retweet another person’s tweet
– Respond to a tweet
– Someone should be followed.
– Send a message to someone
Keep an eye out for new features as they become available. Most people stick to the fundamentals (e.g. posting tweets). However, even if your content is interesting, you will not receive any views if you are not connected to anyone. Simply posting is not enough to build a following; you must also use your other options.
Learn from the best.
This is where you can learn more than just the fundamentals. Continuing with our Twitter example, some things that go beyond the basics are to:
– Include useful information in your bio
– Connect to your other accounts or external websites.
– Tag another account in your tweet
– Make use of hashtags.
– Include images, videos, or gifs.
– Share content with other accounts you believe will be interested.
– Create interesting content that people will want to share.
– Cover urgent topics more quickly
– Provide more information than others
– Repurpose your own content from other places.
– Improve on the work of others
Stick to the “variations” that you excel at.
Different platforms are like different game modes, although the end goal is ultimately the same. Not everyone is good at short-form tweets, just as not everyone is good at writing long-form blog posts on Substack or making super-short videos on TikTok. Choose a platform that you are most comfortable with and stick with it. By constantly switching between platforms, you’re not going to improve much at any one game. Simply choose your preferred platform and commit to it. You’re not required to play to your weaknesses, so why not play to your strengths? This includes identifying or creating niches in which you can succeed. If a platform does not yet cover a topic that you are interested in or know a lot about, why not become an expert in that field?
Practice, practise, and practise some more
The more shots you have on net, the more likely you are to get one in. If you want to succeed, you must consistently post content, interact with other users, and strive to improve. Spend a certain amount of time on the previous steps, but make sure you’re also executing. The earlier you begin and the longer you play the game, the better your chances of success. Not only will your content improve over time, but it will also naturally attract attention. Each comment or post you make will only gain views over time if you keep it up. Each time someone views your content, there is a chance that they will become a follower or a connection.
I hope this framework and the suggestions here can assist you on your path to social media success. I also hope it makes you consider whether it’s worthwhile. I used to play a lot of chess and consider myself a fairly advanced player. But I could never fully commit to something unless I was truly interested in becoming truly extraordinary. I enjoy playing the game, but it astounds me that some people can spend their entire lives moving white and black pieces across the board.
Social media’s brutal competition is not for everyone, and it comes at a real cost. How else could you spend your time to achieve your objectives? Are your objectives even appropriate for you? This is a global, nonstop, and ever-changing competition. Despite the fact that I refer to consumers as losers and producers as winners in this game, there is always a third option: simply opt out. But if that’s not in the cards, I wish you all the best.
Hi, I’m Garima and I write about life experiences. I have several books available on Amazon. Check them out today! Any purchases or KDP reads will be greatly appreciated. If you like my books, do leave a review. Here’s my author page on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0BQDZXYNV
7 Comments Add yours
Hi Garima 🙂
A long time ago, when I still used twitter, GaryVee HMU and invited me to stop by his place — but I never got around to it. 😐
IDGAF about stuff I refer to as “irrational media” — basically brand names. At the outset, “twitter” was *sort of* “rational media” — it kind of referred to something. But then that was abandoned, and the management decided to promote celebrities instead. As I indicated above, I topped using it, as it became useless (in my eyes).
I scanned your article, but you nowhere get around to defining what you refer to as “social media” … and therefore it remains meaningless (no one else ever defines it either — that seems to be a big part of it’s *mystique*). To me, it simply means nothing.
I wish and hope that someday someone will be able to define the term in a way that is meaningful to me … but that hasn’t happened yet.
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To the day when social media gets defined officially…cheers
PS..woah you aced Twitter, damn teach me too..in all transparency, I need some passive income options to survive in today’s economy
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Perhaps it is a place where we proclaim, “I Am!”
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Maybe somewhere, over the rainbow, … 😉
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Dreams come true…
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