Yes, Russia spent a few bucks on Facebook ads. But that is not why their propaganda posts had an impact. After all, there are people who spend way more money on Facebook and who no one is talking about.
Russia’s content spread because it tapped into people’s emotions. It played off of people’s fears, prejudices, and hate.
But what if people did that with a positive spin? If you create content that people find intriguing, thought-provoking, and fun, it can also travel quite a bit on social media. It may not be the wildfire that Russia started. After all, bad news – even if it is not true – spreads fasters than good news. But it could still have an impact.
Another thing to learn from all of this: Russia succeeded because they just wanted to get these ideas out there. They were not trying to herd people to a landing page with a “special offer.” Their posts were not accompanied by the tag line like, “Get an extra 20% of ignorant hatred by using promo code…” They did not care about follower numbers or likes. They designed their content to have an impact.
I realize that businesses need to sell widgets or services. I realize that bands need to sell concert tickets. But what if the bulk of their content was more focused on who they are, what they are about, and the interesting ideas they have?