No such thing as bad buffalo wings…right?

Everyone’s been talking about this restaurant. You waited months to finally get a reservation. Eagerly expecting the dining experience of a lifetime, your appetizer comes to the table and…meh.

Sub par. Just OK. You don’t hate it.

Even if everything that follows that appetizer is phenomenal, you probably won’t ever come back.

The first experience framed your overall experience of the meal and you cannot shake the feeling that the restaurant wasn’t worth the hype.

First impressions matter. A lot.

The first impression, or first few seconds in social media content, frames your total experience. It’s a subconscious promise that what’s coming next is even more interesting and engaging, and your thumb hesitates for a split second to see what follows.

Whereas in a restaurant you’ll patiently and politely wait for the next course, you’re under no obligation to stick around to see if social media content gets better. If the first few seconds fail to immediately arouse your curiosity, you’ll swipe up and scroll on.

Neglecting that critical first impression is a content killer. And that’s not the only way to kill content and avoid virality (if that’s your aim). Branded content is like the loaded potato skins of appetizers (every airport restaurant offers them and it’s always a mistake to order them).

Continuing with the restaurant metaphor, have you ever approached a restaurant and seen an obviously corporate-designed sign advertising specials? They kind of kill the mood. You want an artisan, local, and bespoke dining experience that you can only get in one unique place, but you’re getting the same dinner as patrons in Topeka, Kansas or Muncie, Indiana (no offense to the midwest).

Branded elements are the vampires of social media content, draining it of meaningful substance and leaving behind an empty shell. We instinctively react, clicking away to find something authentic.

If these two content principles, make a strong first impression and avoid branded content,

are so fundamental, why is it so difficult to execute them consistently?

  1. We’re not always great at first impressions because we’re focused on getting our message across instead of imagining what it’s like for our audience to stumble upon our content.
  2. Branded elements are easy and we’re perpetually in a hurry to push out more content on an arbitrary schedule.

The antidote to both ailments: slow down.

Want help with your social media strategy? Connect  1-on-1 with Brendan’s team here to see if we are the right fit to work together.

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