Did you see what Red Bull just posted on their Instagram feed? How about Taco Bell’s latest snap? Or Under Armour’s Facebook video? Did you see that new piece of social content? If you didn’t then you should.
These brands all make great content. It’s entertaining, cool and fresh.
For most brands planning for and making that kind of content seems impossible. I know how it is.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s not easy to consistently create fresh and relevant content that people want to consume and, more importantly, share with their own social networks. That goes for most brands, and it’s especially true for the not-so-known or forgotten brands.
But if you take some time to do the right planning and research upfront, create the right kinds of content for the right people and add in a dash or two of paid support, social can start to pay off quickly.
Here’s how to go about making your social content matter even more:
Pick your customers before platforms
“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” –Michael Porter
Marketers often find themselves trying to support too many platforms, casting wide nets at large generic demographic targets like Millennials. Then they make it worse by posting at random times and with multiple messages—all the while struggling to prove out an ROI.
Sounds familiar, right?
When it comes to social media it’s easy to get caught up and start picking platforms first and then backing in the “who” after. But that’s what you want to avoid.
Start instead by figuring out who your ideal customer is first and then map out their journey to you. When you are finished, that map should serve to help you determine which platforms are the best to reach your ideal customers. More importantly, that map will help you start to answer the question “ok, what aren’t we going to do to reach them?”
Here are three questions to get you started:
- Who are your customers? Be specific.
- Who do you want to be your customers?
- Who is the most profitable for your business?
Plan your social content around your customer
Now that you understand how and where to reach your customer it’s time to think about the kinds of content and messaging that will work best. To do that you have to dig into some really specific areas like your business and history, the category you are in and customer behaviors.
Don’t forget to look at the current cultural zeitgeist and social conversations to round out the perspective.
Then put it all together in one place. Step back and soak it all in. There are a lot of ways to accomplish this (here at LSB, we use a giant wall with printouts/post-its) but you can use whatever works best for you.
Once you do that, try and bring it all back together again under a single idea or truth. That holds everything together. Now build out your content in different theme buckets that you can measure.
Mix it up a bit
Determining content mix is one of the most important parts to any social media strategy. I like to break content out into four buckets:
- Original Content: Planned branded content and assets, including but not limited to branded photos and video.
- Curated Content: Shared content from sources not under control of the brand (e.g., magazine articles and social publishing sites), curated by community manager.
- User-Generated Content: Content from brand-lovers, aggregated and amplified through brand social channels.
- Promotional Content: Announcements, deals and discounts and promotional/paid/boosted campaigns and/or content.
You should adjust the proportions of each of those buckets according to your brand, product and target customer and budgets. In addition, we always recommend a check to make sure all content that goes out the door is informative, entertaining or relevant.
Also, consider adjusting the targeting of each post for things like location, gender, age, interests, education level etc.
Use paid promotion for your social content
In order to maximize and amplify the content you are creating for social media you should consider investing in paid support. Paid media opportunities are available on all the major social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
While each platform has its own features and benefits they all have similar models and targeting capabilities. In all cases, paid social advertising will increase visibility and, if the content is good enough, engagement. For Facebook and Instagram we also see that the use of paid support results in the increase of general organic reach for brands. When done right it all works together.
To get started, consider these three questions:
- What is your objective and timeframe?
- Who is your audience?
- What is your budget?
Optimize and repeat
eMarketer reports that social media spending is projected to account for 16% of the digital ad market by 2017. That’s pretty incredible given the fact that there are still no standards for measuring what the return on that social content spend really is.
One thing is for sure, there are tons of metrics we can look at to gauge success from number of fans, followers, likes, retweets and shares to website referral traffic. The most difficult question to answer in social media today is: Which metrics should our brand be using to measure ROI in social media?
The answer isn’t simple and it certainly depends on each individual brand, but here are some steps that can get you started:
- Identify and agree on KPIs with all stakeholders
- Ladder up the marketing goals to the business objectives
- Establish and track conversions through analytics
- Benchmark and report regularly
- Optimize your content around what is working
- Continually introduce and test new content
We want to hear back from you. What steps are you taking to make your social content matter more? What’s working and what’s not?