One of my business’ biggest revenue sources is social media content creation. At Cognent, we are hired by clients to help them create content and manage their social media channels. We tell our clients, content is king. The more high-quality content the greater the engagement from the individuals they want to target.

But quality content is expensive.

Many business owners continue to believe that all it takes is to create a social media channel and post a few pictures and, magically, their audience will grow in no time. Others erroneously believe they can take content from the Internet for free and use it on their channels.

Others are shocked by the quotes we give them for creating content.

Quality content costs because it takes time for the artist, the photographer, the videographer or the musician to create the work. As all workers, artists deserve to be paid for their time. The higher the quality of the work the more expensive it is, because it takes time to do it correctly.

In addition to the content, the content must be posted on the different social media channels. But just posting the content does not make it viral. It takes time to build engagement. Luck is what makes something go viral.

Unless you take a shortcut.

The Russians showed us how to manipulate social media by paying armies to interfere in the 2016 elections with fake posts. In addition to the paid armies, they unleashed bots to create an illusion of engagement.

Then Mike Bloomberg showed us how create an illusion of social media grassroots by paying people to post his message on their channels.

On Monday, February 24, Business Insider gave us a peak on how much Bloomberg is spending on social media.

According to the Business Insider, presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg has hired 500 social-media campaigners in California to create content. Bloomberg is paying each poster $2,500 a month to spread Bloomberg’s message across social media.

In California alone, Bloomberg is paying over a million dollars a month for people to spread Bloomberg’s content across Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.

But like many businesspeople who make the mistake that social media is just about followers, Bloomberg’s operation doesn’t care whether the people it hires are effective or not. Bloomberg’s campaign seems to believe that if they throw enough content out there it will generate the social media buzz they seek.

According to the news media, the Bloomberg operation creates the content and has their social media operatives post it on their channels. There seems to be no strategy, except the idea that if you cast a wide net, the message will be delivered.

Unfortunately, that is not how it works.

Authenticity is very important followed closely by quality content.

The Bloomberg campaign has indicated that it is trying to reach voters on “all platforms”. That is the lie. They are hoping for the illusion of a grassroots effort. That won’t happen unless the social media content is delivered by people who really care about Bloomberg’s campaign.

Unfortunately for Bloomberg, the one-plus million he is spending a month on creating a social media revolution is money down the drain.

For everyone else, the lesson is that social media marketing is not hoping for the illusive viral post. Rather an effective social media marketing campaign requires quality content and engaged social media managers looking to effectively post content that attracts the eyeballs business owners are hoping for.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...