One fine morning two fisherman head out to the same coast.
They set sail in separate boats to the same spot, famed for its vast shoals of fish.
Unprepared, the first fisherman, confident that with so many fish to catch he will ensnare his fair share, sticks some stale cereal on his hook and casts his line.
The second, knowing the fish need persuading, hooks his finest highly scented bait.
As morning becomes midday and afternoon becomes dusk, both fishermen retire for the night. They pass on the shore, the first fisherman trudging empty-handed, whilst the second labours under the weight of a fine day's catch.
The moral of the story? No matter how many fish in the sea, you won’t catch much without good bait.
Every day businesses across the world set out to the vast seas of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the murky waters of Google Plus seeking their haul for the day, aiming to draw followers to their websites, products and services.
Far too many will forget that they need fine bait.
Social media channels are invaluable platforms to entice your audience, but without interesting, relevant content, no-one is going to be reeled in.
Although a few passing fish might nibble at a soggy cornflake (much the same as hitting ‘like’ on a picture of a kitten in a tutu) they are far from being hooked. But dangle a tasty chunk of informed, engrossing, entertaining copy and they’ll quickly be on board and advocating your brand to the other fish in their pool.
Social media is unique in allowing your business to acquire a concentrated audience of potential customers with a genuine interest in what you offer, how that can benefit them and how they can get hold of it. But unless you can persuade them to make that leap from your news feed to your news page it’s a pretty thankless task.
Only engaging content, even in the form of tenuous fishing analogies, will get your social media followers where you need them to be.