In the world of social media you will come across the terms buzz and hype. They are terms that refer to the way your message is being delivered in the social media world, and they are important to understand as too much of one is not good, while there is no such thing as too much of the other.
In traditional media, most of the time a story makes it on to the TV screen, over the radio airwaves or into the newspaper or magazine, and within moments that story is gone. It may be rerun later that day, and maybe even the next day if there is some follow-up on a breaking story, but its life is limited. That is not true in social media. A story can go on and on and on as it is shared and reshared by people around the globe.
However not all stories on social media do that. The vast majority reach a very small number of people and go no further.
Buzz and Hype
What is hype?
In an attempt to boost the number of people who read a story, the story’s creator will often repost the story, comment on the story, or even dress it up as a slightly different story and repost. All these activities are referred to as creating hype. It is perfectly acceptable to create a moderate amount of hype about a story over a short period of time, such as a day or two. Beyond that, social media readers will start to recognize that it is self promotion and ignore the story or worse, ignore the poster (unfriend on Facebook, unfollow on Twitter etc). Having a reputation as a social media poster that creates a high level of hype will mean eventually being shunned by the users of that service.
So having too much hype is a bad thing.
What is buzz?
When a story is reposted, reshared, mentioned, retweeted by people other than the story creator, this is referred to as buzz. It is what every social media author wants for their story. When the level of buzz becomes so great that it extends beyond the normal audience and scope of the original poster, and at a level that is an order of magnitude above that author’s normal buzz level, that’s what is referred to as ‘gone viral’.
You just can’t have enough buzz!
Creating buzz and hype
Creating hype is easy. The trick is making sure that you stay below the barriers for whatever social media platform you use. For Facebook that means you may be able to repeat a story once a month without creating bad feelings with your audience. For Twitter you may be able to repeat a story every few hours for a few days, then repeat that every few months. For other platforms, like Reddit, one post can be considered over hyped by some segments, and the system is set up so you can’t post things more than once. Redditors call out people who post nothing but links to their websites/blogs as ‘blog spam’ and the user can be banned.
Creating buzz is more difficult. It requires you to understand your audience and the platform you work within, but following these simple rules can really increase your chances:
- Have content with a quirky headline, but that still delivers what it promises. The use of “but what he does next” or “you won’t believe solution number 5” have been working for some groups, but seems to be wearing thin – so use with caution.
- Use great graphics – either quirky but on-topic photographs or create your message as a infographic. If you are not a graphics person, programs like Canva are a great way to do this.
- Ask others (in an offline email) to share your post.
Understanding social media can be a difficult task as everything is changing so fast, but no matter what the platforms are or will be, buzz and hype will always be there!