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Content isn’t art, it’s your COGS

Crazy doesn’t begin to describe how my year has been. I went into 2018 with one idea and left with something entirely unexpected. But that’s life right? Photographer turned advertiser, who would’ve thought.

So now, surrendering to overwhelming pressure from my peers and friends, I’ve started to write. If only HSC equivalent me could see me now.

But enough nostalgia. Let’s get back to this headline.

Quite recently, a client asked me why the lead time between uploading one piece of content to the next was so small (usually 2 – 3 days). The thing is, we had just finalised and published a solid long-form audiovisual piece and to the client’s dismay, started working on new content immediately. After being asked why the article was not left at the forefront for longer, it became apparent to me that there was this association between artistic work and content creation.

To be frank, the methods we use for content creation no matter how thoughtfully designed or beautifully formatted should not be confused with a person’s expression or display of their creative skill (ART). Content should be more associated with your cost of goods sold; aka your inventory.

This is at least true for small businesses looking to invest in social media marketing and is but one of a few ways for business owners to rationalise such an investment.

  • Your content is intrinsically linked to your inventory/service offering

Within the first year of your investment in social media marketing, your focus would most definitely be founded in your need to boost sales. And if we can quickly sum up every management book ever published, you have to ‘start with why.’ Why should people purchase your product, why should they visit your store, why should they get their morning coffee fix from your cafe and so on. Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. are your primary channels to inform & persuade. So, it would be silly to think that your social media arm should in any way act independently from the very thing that makes your product worth buying. These channels assist in emphasising the strengths of your product, highlight people’s testimonials and most importantly underscore your value system; in other words, the very things you need to make that sale.

It would be rash to think then, that the content you create should not be elevated to the frequency and scale that you take in up-selling and promoting your store in the real world. Can you imagine thinking, ‘I’ve recently informed one person about how amazing my product is, time for a break.’ ABSOLUTELY NOT. Learn from successful and unsuccessful pitches, adapt, and keep selling. The same goes for social media marketing. It’s not an information directory; it is your virtual self tirelessly working 24/7 to get people to buy your product. And if not that, at least peak interest enough to talk to the real you.

  • Social media should be seen as a cost of producing not an operational cost

For the numbers people out there, I urge you to look at social media as an absolute necessity in much the same way that flour or postal stamps are vital for getting your product made or delivered to your customer. Without accounting for postal services, your potential Amazon product would be produced in a void unable to be delivered. Without buying flour, your pastries will never form. This is because there are certain expenses in your business that are dubbed costs and these aggregate to what ultimately forms your COST OF GOODS SOLD i.e what it takes to produce & benefit from your product participating in a market economy.

Thinking of social media in this way will assist in framing its utility. There is nothing worse than doubting your financial decisions, and while many expenses in your business may be up for debate, renegotiation or otherwise seasonal, your COGS need to be down pat. Because if you lose that, you lose the very thing that makes your business YOUR business. From tapping outsourced labour to buying in bulk, getting COGS right promises the key to scalability and success. At the very least, you can think of social media as your online postal cost, a way of digitally distributing your product to your customers.

Hopefully, this first draft of mine did not bore you out of the fun and creativity that can be gained by publishing on social media. What I’ve tried to do here is frame social media in a way that speaks directly to the small business owner. I’m a great believer in all things social and the power it has to influence not only your local online community but those halfway around the world. However, just like anything worthwhile, it requires a disciplined and patient outlook.

Love to hear your thoughts on my first draft and whether there are any topics you’d like me to share my thoughts on.

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