The 5 C’s of Social Media Dominance – Part 1

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time helping leaders navigate the waters of social media.

I don’t consider myself an expert, especially since I haven’t put in the 10,000 hours of expertise yet that folks like Malcolm Gladwell talk about. I still end sentences with prepositions for instance.

But I have been swimming for a few years, and I’ve learned a few things. Lots of them by failing, some of them by floating into the right wave at the right time, a few of them on purpose.

So this week, as I work on creating the most intensive guide to social media I’ve ever built for the upcoming Quitter Conference, I thought I would share the 50,000 foot view.

There are only 5 words you have to understand in order to dominate social media. Here’s the first one, with the next four coming in the days to follow:

1. Content

If you had a nickel for every time someone told you that “content is king” you could have been the one who purchased Instagram.

This word has been bandied about so often on the Internet that it’s become a cliché, which is a shame, because content still runs social media like Jay-Z runs New York.

So what is content? Let’s demystify it.

Imagine you owned a store. You were having a grand opening. You spent hours and hours promoting your big day. You spent thousands of dollars inviting people to the ribbon cutting, doing everything you could to drive traffic to your location.

The day arrived, the parking lot was slammed full of people and it was a wild success …and then you opened the doors. And all the shelves were empty. In the excitement of promoting your store, you forgot to stock it. You’ve got an immaculate layout. The store isn’t just a store, it’s an “experience.” The design is unbelievable … but it doesn’t matter. People were expecting products. And as soon as they took a look behind the curtain, so to speak, and realized the store was empty, they left and never came back.

Content = Products.

That’s not just true for businesses, but that’s true for bloggers too. Even if you never want to sell a single thing via social media, if you want to build a community, you have to have a foundation to build it on. And that foundation is the content.

If you start with the promotion, the building will be well known and well ignored.

If you start with the design, the building will be beautiful and empty.

If you start with the community, the building will be temporarily crowded but eventually abandoned.

Content is king.

Content is currency.

Content is critical.

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

What blogs will you write?

What videos will you share?

What will you create?

Or, in the Facebook/YouTube model, what content will you enable other people to create on your platform? CNN didn’t start the “iReport” feature, which allows people at home to submit their own news, because they like lowercase letters. They started it because it turns the entire country into content machines. And content matters most. The times I’ve forgotten this have been the times I’ve made my biggest mistakes with social media.

Next, we’ll talk about the second word, “Context.” But the other words won’t matter a whole lot if we don’t get this one right first.

Read Part 2 of this series here.

Read more from 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 say you? Leave a comment!

VRcurator — 11/04/12 6:07 am

Great! Keep in touch and let us know how the process is going.

Steve Craig — 11/03/12 6:19 pm

We're working through the church unique process right now....gathering information about our place, people, and's been challenging and rewarding. Love this website.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
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