Social Media: Art or Science?

The majority of us have a presence on at least one social media platform, whether that’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or something less well known. But, do we ever really think about what drives us when we’re making a post? Do we rely on our creative abilities or our scientific instinct for results when creating content for social media? In this blog post, we take on the debate of social media as art vs science in order to see if it can really be defined by one of the two.


The Case for Social Media as Art


Relying on Aesthetics

A large amount of the social media content we see relies on visuals. This is particularly true of a platform like Instagram, which revolves around aesthetics and allows people to experiment with photography and image editing in order to produce visually striking content. Even with social media platforms that are more text-based, like Twitter, you will still get a higher level of engagement when using an image. Remember that old saying: a picture paints a thousand words…


Producing Emotional Impact

Social media posts need to engage with people’s emotions in order to elicit a response: whether that’s a like, a comment, or a share. Humour is a particularly important factor to take into consideration; with a social media site like Twitter, you only have a short space (even if it’s now 280 characters) to get your message across. If you are able to make people laugh, they are far more likely to engage with you.


Building a Connection

Whether they are a painter, a writer, or a performer, successful artists often do so well because they have formed a connection with their audience over the course of their career. Similarly, if you want to build an effective social media presence, the most important thing is creating a meaningful connection with your audience. Once you’ve got an established grounding in the world of social media, you are far more likely to be successful.


The Case for Social Media as Science


Using Prediction

Although using your creativity is the fun part, you will also have to rely on a level of scientific prediction in order to produce results on your social media platform. You’ll have to consider things like: when is the best time to upload a post on Instagram to get the most engagement? Or, what is the demographic of my audience and how should I tailor my posts to suit them?


Measuring Your Success

As well as predicting the impact of your social media posts, you will also analyse the data available to you in order to measure your success. The majority of social media platforms will allow you to access and review your data, especially if you have a business account, so you can then use it to change and refine your approach in the future. You can find out which hashtags have worked best for you or how many people have seen each post.


Focusing on Results

Although you want the content of your posts to be valuable, you also want to be able to see results from your social media presence. If you consider a post to be good but it has no real impact online then you might want to change your approach based on those results. Sometimes you may find yourself sacrificing a little bit of your creative license in order to create content which people like.


Our Verdict

It’s important to understand that the successful use of social media will strike a balance between the artistic and the scientific. You can have a thoroughly planned and research strategy but produce posts that fail to connect with your audience. On the other hand, if you have brilliant creative ideas but no way of reaching a wide audience, you won’t have the same level of impact. So, rather than asking is social media art or science, we should be thinking about how it uses the strengths of both. 




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