Does context matter on social media?

Does context matter on social media?Does context matter when it comes to your social media content? It’s something that I am constantly aware of, but a post I saw on Instagram last week prompted me to blog.

So, what do I mean? Context?

In this blog, I’m looking at the platforms and the way they work – so we’re thinking about Twitter’s 140 character limit – the ‘stuff’ that makes a platform the platform. Now, any social media user will know that all the platforms have their own style and their own limits. We have the retweet on Twitter, for example, that allows you to share other people’s content with your followers, but you can’t retweet on Facebook, you share. And you can’t share on Instagram, you repost. See what I mean?

Does context matter then?

Yes. The example I saw that inspired me to write this blog (and made me revisit the importance of this) was a competition on Instagram. Instagram is a highly visual platform, as we all know, and this competition graphic was, well, underwhelming. White background, common font, pixelated. Ugh. That annoyed me for starters. But you know what annoyed me more? The word share. Like and share. Now, this annoyed me on a number of different levels…

  1. The graphic had clearly been used on Facebook as that’s where ‘sharing’ works
  2. The graphic was rubbish and shouldn’t have generated much interest on Facebook either
  3. The competition was using liking and sharing as an entry mechanism. And having sharing as an entry mechanism breaks Facebook rules.

The last one is a REAL bug bear or mine, but let’s get back to the actual theme of the blog…

The graphic asked people to like and share to enter. How on earth can you do that on Instagram? You can’t. Saying this shows a lack of understanding for the platform and a lack of care. Context matters. It’s frustrating when someone posts competitions and even content that doesn’t fit a platform’s parameters. And there’s no need for it. If you’re doing it to ‘save time’, just don’t. Some content can be shared across platforms, I get that, but if it doesn’t look native, just don’t. It’s better not to bother. Please. Context matters. You could have killer content, but if they context is out, it just doesn’t work.

What do you think? Does context matter to you?

What do you think? Have you see requests for a share on Instagram? A repost on Facebook? How did it make you feel?

4 replies
  1. Sarah Belford
    Sarah Belford says:

    Hi Rhea, interesting point and I bear similar bug bears for people not thinking things through fully! However, I also believe its against Facebook terms and conditions to run ‘share and like’ competitions on the grounds its considered as ‘spam’
    Would be interested to hear your futher thoughts!

    • Rhea Freeman
      Rhea Freeman says:

      Hi Sarah – thanks so much for responding. It absolutely is against FB Ts and Cs to have sharing as an entry mechanism to a competition, and that drives me mad as well! People do it because it does get a good reach, but it is against the rules, and that’s why I never, ever advise doing it.

  2. Rowan
    Rowan says:

    Totally agree. It’s lazy and makes me doubt the integrity of the brand. Playing devil’s advocate, I’ve worked for some people to whom social media is “new fangled” and to whom the nuances of each platform are lost on, so it could be someone trying their best. I was once asked to, rather than using sms opt-in push notifications , to create a whatsapp group….for 600 very wealthy and private individuals. …because my boss’s son had told her whatsapp was where it was at!!

    • Rhea Freeman
      Rhea Freeman says:

      That’s very true Rowan, but I do think if you want the best return for your investment (whether that’s time OR time and money), it pays to do a bit of research 🙂 The Whatsapp group with 600 people would be quite something to behold!!

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