Social Media is an attention economy - content is abundant, but attention is scarce and valuable. As a result, most of the content published on any given day doesn't get the attention it deserves. However, in understanding that social media is driven by hot topics - things that we find socially relevant on the day - there are ways to ensure your content stands a better chance of being engaged with.
Hot content comes to us in three ways on social media: Bonfires, which are community conversations and subscriptions; Fireworks, which are sensational moments, announcements, and events; and Wildfires, which are driven by collaborative creativity, remix, and participation.
Let's explore each of these a bit more with examples from Twitter...
In the real world, a bonfire is a gathering point where we share stories, and have conversations that connect us. Digitally, a bonfire social media strategy is about keeping conversation going. You don't want the embers of conversation to die down - you want to keep people involved and engaged around content. So the difference is: you don't just drop content into your timeline randomly, each piece of content is produced as fuel for conversation. Momentum is key - you have to use energy to get it going, and then keep fuelling it. There is no hierarchy around a bonfire, but there can be leadership and influence.
Fireworks are spectacular, they can be seen far and wide - even if you weren't originally interested in or looking for fireworks. In social media these firework moments happen in the form of events created by brands, by sports events, and major announcements. The key to a good firework strategy is coordination - you know your purpose and the audience you want to reach, then you work with influencers (people who have the audience you want) to help you get your content out. Timing is important with fireworks, all your influencers should announce the moment at the same time to create a trending topic.
Wildfires spread widely and consume everything in their path. On social media wildfire content is content that spreads from person to person and where ANYONE can contribute to the conversation, even if they don't know anything about the actual topic. The keys to this kind of content are that it should be timely, unexpected, and taste-makers should get involved - so you definitely can't control this content, but if you're quick you can contribute creatively and benefit from the widespread attention to the topic.