In today’s oversaturated digital world, users are not engaged by mindless jabber from brands. Meanwhile, many networks are cutting down on the amount of organic branded content shown to users.
As the fight for eyeballs becomes more and more fierce, marketers should begin to develop content-focused social media strategies that provide value to users on any given platform.
Here are five sure-fire ways to make sure your social media efforts are focused on quality content that your audience actually wants to consume.
1. Know Your Social Media Audience
Understanding who is using various social media platforms, what their goals are, and how they view and digest the content that is being shared is key to marketing in the ever-changing social media landscape. Knowing the interests and goals of various target audiences will help you create messages that are well received and shared.
One of the best ways to understand target consumers behavior and interests is by finding out who they follow on social media. Brands have been leveraging influencers and “tastemakers” within their industries because they can have a big impact on their bottom line. Social media platforms, such as Instagram, have therefore made it easier for brands and consumers to cultivate strong connections.
For example, two brands in the lifestyle and beauty space, FabFitFun and BioClarity, use similar influencers, such as TV personalities and niche micro-influencers, in order to educate their followers about their products. It’s vital, when choosing influencers or tastemakers in a specific industry, that they align with the brand’s purpose through already sharing content that provides real value to the end consumer.
Key influencers such as Amanda Stanton, a contestant from the Bachelor TV series, and Hailey Marie, a popular Instagram influencer, are hired by many brands to reach a wide net of targeted consumers.
2. Create Content That Adds Value
When creating a content marketing plan, understand the expectations of the target audience, as they are usually very different from the marketing team’s end goal. It is important to develop content that meets the goals and expectations of the target audience, while still driving company growth.
A great way to show consumers that they are valuable is to celebrate those who follow or subscribe to a company’s social media outlets, such as by sharing or making comments on their posts. Additionally, give customers a shout out on their birthday or on the anniversary of their subscription to make them feel extra special.
A great example of adding value and celebrating customers can be found in theSkimm daily email, a membership-based newsletter company. The newsletter offer coupons and deals to partner companies, as well as tips on things to read, drink, and try.
TheSkimm also gives a shout out to all their “daily Skimm’rs” or “Skimm’bassadors” on their birthdays, to show them that they value their loyalty. It also indicates a job well done in being representatives of the brand through word-of-mouth marketing initiatives, as you can see in the image below.
3. Strive for Quality Over Quantity
Quality content seems like an obvious objective, but it can be neglected under the pressure to stick to a publishing schedule and other time demands. To ensure that the marketing team doesn’t fall into the “just get something out” trap when it comes to content, create a checklist of standards that new content must meet before it is pushed out for public consumption.
Start by creating a publishing schedule that can realistically be followed. Then, and most importantly, recognize when it is impossible to stick to that schedule and make adjustments in other areas, but not in the quality of the research, writing, or editing.
Keep in mind that social media is becoming the face of many businesses. It is where a brand is most promoted and seen, and it’s where many audiences will see a brand for the first time. It is vital to make sure that all content meets the highest of standards; do not cut corners to save time.
If all else fails, skip a posting rather than publish content that’s not up to par. If posting daily on social media is an important aspect of the content marketing plan, write a quick note and then link to an article or another type of post that is valuable and informative.
For example, VitaMedica, an evidence and health-based nutraceutical and homeopathic company, get more mileage out of older blog posts on its site by posting them again on social media when new content hasn’t been generated in a while. This way, the company is able to still churn out posts in a timely manner, without forfeiting quality.
For example, VitaMedica re-purposed an informational article on healthy eating in a Tweet in order to continuously keep their feed updated.
If you are unsure what content is being well received by consumers and meeting the goals that have established, utilize tools like Google Analytics, Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and Buffer to help measure, track, and quantify the engagement and success of posts.
4. Storytelling Builds Brands
We all know why stories are so impactful and how they have made huge brands, such as Apple and Starbucks, come to life. Stories lead to emotional connections and help to create loyalty.
For example, Pura Vida Bracelets is a brand that has cultivated a strong consumer following because of its inspiring story. Partnering first with two local artisans in Costa Rica to now employing artisans from all around the world to create its products, Pura Vida has given its employees the opportunity to have a stable income and work in a positive, safe environment.
As you can see below, Pura Vida leads with its brand story in its Instagram bio.
For another example, Threadless.com is a community of artists and designers who contribute artwork to be printed on household goods. They share their stories on the website about their day-to-day lives and inspiration. The entire site is built upon these stories from the artists and gives customers an insider view of where the company’s products are coming from.
Threadless weaves these stories into their Instagram feed by giving their artists shout-outs for their work.
However, be careful to not oversell a brand story. Make sure that the story is out there, but it doesn’t need to be included in every aspect of marketing efforts. A brand story should help to shape the brand, whereas marketing strategies should continue to build upon the brand.
5. Show Off Your Employees
It is widely known that consumers are more taken with brands who show appreciation for their employees. Most consumers also gravitate towards organizations that generate a positive corporate culture, which includes employees who are proud of their contributions to the end product.
Leverage the employees that work at your company, especially if they have made an important discovery or have assisted in the creation a brand new product, method, or process that can’t be found anywhere else. This will help to differentiate a brand from others and is an easy tactic to use in marketing efforts.
For example, GuidedChoice, a roboadvisor in the retirement industry, was founded by a man named Harry Markowitz, who is widely known for his Modern Portfolio Theory and was taught by the likes of Milton Friedman and Jacob Marschak.
Create a piece of content that highlights an employee’s successes, like this one, and share it on your social platforms to show some employee appreciation.
However, also make a point to celebrate those lesser recognized employees by giving them a shout out or by sharing a blog post about an employee appreciation day that your company held.
Additional Tips for Success on Each Social Media Platform
Keep these posting guidelines in mind for even greater success on the most popular social networks:
Twitter: Repurpose main points, one-liners, and great stats from your other posts.
Facebook: Be conversational and friendly. The main goal should be to blend into the familiar tone of personal posts that your fans are receiving from their family and friends.
Instagram: Using hashtags on Instagram allows you and your company to be a part of a larger story. By taking advantage of trending hashtags, or creating your own, you can become a part of others’ stories and reach a larger audience.
A Match Made In Heaven
Social media and content marketing go hand in hand. They are both needed in order to creatively and successfully execute any content marketing strategy. To truly succeed on social media platforms, cut out the “fluff” and understand what makes your audience tick. The more real and relevant posts are, the more likely consumers will gravitate toward the content being produced.
As more and more content starts to clog up consumers feeds, it’s imperative to develop a social media marketing strategy that not only tells a brand’s story but seeks to maintain a long-lasting consumer-to-brand connection.