The 5 C’s of Social Media Dominance – Part 3

In previous posts from this series, we talked about the first two C’s for Social Media Dominance, Content and Context. Today let’s talk about:

3. Clarity

A few months ago, I had dinner with a friend of mine. He’s a social media consultant. He gets paid thousands and thousands of dollars to help companies with their social media strategies. During the middle of the meal, he leaned forward and confessed something quietly, “I know I’m supposed to be using Google +, but I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing.”

And as silly as that might sound, I feel the same way.

I’m pretty sure it’s awesome. I mean it’s Google, after all! Who doesn’t love Google? But whenever I check in or log in or whatever verb you use when interacting with +, I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do.

I’m positive there must be some stream of conversation going on somewhere within the platform. There must be some reason it’s awesome, but I can’t find it. So, after a few minutes of poking around I return to the platforms I do know how to use, Twitter and Facebook.

And it turns out, so do a lot of other people. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “Visitors using personal computers spent an average of about three minutes a month on Google+ between September and January, versus six to seven hours on Facebook each month over the same period, according to comScore, which didn’t have data on mobile usage.”

Will Google + bounce back? Maybe. That team is brilliant, but they won’t until they fix one thing: clarity.

Clarity is the way you carve out some space in the cluttered social media world. It’s how you tell readers and followers and fans and customers, “This is what I’m all about.” It’s your idea stripped down to its bare essentials, so that the most distracted generation in the history of mankind can instantly understand where you fit in the social media landscape.

This one takes time. No blog ends up a year later being exactly the way you planned it. No social media campaign does exactly what you expected it would. The only way you develop your voice is by using your voice. And often you have to use that voice for 6 months to a year until you’ve got clarity.

My blog is an example of that. I know exactly what Stuff Christians Like is. I have a sense of clarity about that. I have very clear rules for guest posts because I know the voice of the site. I’ve been writing it for 4 years. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are satire. Wednesday is Serious Wednesday. Friday is a guest post.

This blog? I’m not there yet. Sometimes I write about parenting. Sometimes I write about writing. Sometimes I write about chasing your dream. Sometimes I write about social media. Can all those topics play together? Sure, but I haven’t figured out how yet. I don’t have great clarity.

To use the store metaphor, clarity is why Apple doesn’t sell 100 different laptops and desktops. When Steve Jobs returned in the 1990s, he started editing their product line. He winnowed it down to just the bare essentials. They make 4 primary products: iPod, iPad, iPhone and Mac.

They have tremendous clarity about who they are and how they do things.

They communicate everything they do with clarity.

If you want to dominate social media, you need to do that too. If you redesign your blog every month, I’ll never learn how to engage with it. If you make your social media activity so complicated I need a manual to figure out how to engage with you, I won’t.

That was the brilliance of Instagram, as a friend pointed out to me. He said, “Do you know why Instagram was able to enter an incredibly crowded social media landscape, photo apps, and dominate? They said ‘no.’ They resisted the urge to add features and features and features. They fought to keep their core competency and did a very small number of things brilliantly.”

He’s right. I tweeted about 50 photos in three years because the process was clunky. Then Instagram came on the scene with off the charts clarity. In less than a year, I’ve posted over 500 photos to Instagram. That’s the power of clarity.

In the old school, “Who? What? When? Where? Why?” model of journalism, content is the “What?” context is the “Where?” and clarity is the “How?”

How will you share your message?

How will people engage with you online?

How will your content be simply and powerfully presented?

On the next post of this series, we’ll talk about the fourth word, “Consistency.”

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “people have no idea what I’m trying to say online” and 10 being, “people know exactly what I’m all about,” how do you rank on clarity?

Read Part 2 of this series here; read Part 4 here.

Read more about Jon here.

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Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff is the Wall Street Journal best-selling author of Quitter and Stuff Christians Like. He speaks to businesses, colleges and nonprofits. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN.

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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
— Debra
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
— Laurie
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.