We’ve entered the digital age of Keeping Up with the Content Joneses. Brands and media alike are saturating social media platforms with higher and higher volumes of content, rolling with the punches of algorithm shifts and new platform functionalities. The year is 2015 and spoiler alert: the content competition is fierce.
There are 500 million tweets sent per day, and 300 hours of video content uploaded to YouTube every minute. Snapchat, the newest socialite on the digital block, plays host to 8,796 photos shared every second. It would, quite literally, take you 10 years to view all the photos shared on Snapchat in the last hour. Are you experiencing sensory overload yet?
If a primary objective of your social media strategy is engaging with your target audience, how do you get their eyeballs on your content to begin with? It’s a volatile world out there, and we’re here to help you cut through the content clutter with these quick & dirty tips for building a better brand presence on social. Whether your brand is pushing products, or you’re a blogger promoting your content (or yourself), consider the following:
1. Identify each channel’s purpose based on your target audience’s social behavior.
What social platforms are actually important to your target consumer? It’s critical to identify these platforms, and even more so, the content that performs well on these platforms. The spray-and-pray method (translation: posting the exact same content across all social platforms without any tailoring for the specific platform) just doesn’t cut it anymore. The end goal is to communicate to your audience in their native social language on platforms that naturally engage with. For example, the content you your brand creates and shares on Pinterest does not serve the same function on Twitter. Successful content on Pinterest is aspirational and functional, with DIYs and recipes ranking amongst the visual platform’s most engaged with content. Hashtags do not serve a purpose on Pinterest, and, in fact, they are discouraged against. Transition to Twitter and there is a very different landscape. Not only is there a 140 character limit, but images shared are presented horizontally in the newsfeed and hashtags serve a much more functional conversational purpose. Successful content on Twitter is breaking news and statistics.
"The only similarity between the two platforms is that they are both excellent traffic drivers, but the consumer journey could not be more different."
2. Integrate a social strategy and content plan into your brand’s overarching digital ecosystem.
Once you land on where you will be talking to your audience socially, map out how social media fits into your brand’s overall digital ecosystem experience. Make sure your website is optimized for social (if your site is not optimized for mobile, you’re missing the action), and think about cross-platform promotion if you are starting any new channels and you have established other existing presences.
3. Think socially, and less about your brand.
The internet runs off of content. In order to be efficient, your content needs to stand out because it’s clever, fun, and sharable. Successful viral content appeals to universal feelings and relates to human relationships. If you want people to share your content, give them a reason to tag their friend or share the asset with another social connection. Brands making mistakes on social are too narrowly focused on owned brand messaging, so much so that they miss opportunities to use social to be truly, well, social. By nature, social media is reactive and provides cultural commentary. Tapping into the social trends of each platform will undoubtedly lead to more double-taps on your content. For a spectrum of brand examples doing this well, look no further than MR PORTER, Taco Bell, and Lowe’s for inspiration.
4. Create a cohesive look and feel to owned channels and all content.
Could your content be mistaken for another brand’s? If so, rethink how you communicate visually on social. On top of everyday content, it’s important to keep a consistent DNA across channels - whether it be through profile pictures, cover photos, tone of voice, color, theme, etc. Consistency builds credibility in the world of social.
5. Create a plan to create content.
Content is king. Content is the strongest tool you have to grow your audience organically, so create a plan to create. This can take shape in the form of monthly content calendars and agreed upon approval workflows. Always be planning for the month ahead, and leave placeholders in your calendar for any reactive or responsive cultural content. The takeaway here is to not push content out for the sake of crossing it off a to-do list. If content is your currency, make sure the value of it mirrors that of your brand’s.
"Content is the strongest tool you have to grow your audience organically, so create a plan to create."
7. Identify partnerships and content distribution opportunities.
If you’re launching new social presences (i.e. Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc), consider how you are going to get eyeballs on your brand and its message via editorial and influencer partnerships. Not only can you lean on partnerships for content creation, but you can leverage the power of their engaged audiences when they share meaningful, authentic content on behalf of your brand.
8. Implement paid support.
It’s no secret that the big platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have transitioned to a pay-to-play model. If you have the budget to do so, it’s worth investing in hyper targeted campaigns such as content engagement, fan acquisition, or web traffic drivers. These bigger platforms now have targeting and campaign flight capabilities that resemble traditional media buys, and implementing a social spend is a powerful way to guarantee reach within your target demographic.
And there you have it, folks. Now get out there, create meaningful content, and we hope to see you #trending soon.
Dana Kelly is a content strategist by trade and subscribes to the notion that life, lifestyle, and the left coast are what matter most. The California native spends most of her days at Mistress, and has a deep love for words, wine, and great in-flight entertainment.