Consumer brands on social media are not a new thing, in fact, the brand “boom” on channels such as Facebook and Twitter was about seven years ago. In those seven-ish years we’ve seen social platforms grow up, go public, and become huge legitimate businesses. Their users have grown up and adapted as well, as have those users’ expectations and behaviors, how they consume content, and where and when they consume it. So it comes as no surprise that brands have had no choice but to keep evolving on social media, too, if they want to reach the right people with their messaging, stories and content, and make those stories matter.
Some brands have been better than others at this evolution, but what makes them better? What makes their consumers on these platforms continue to want more, especially after years of the brand pumping out what seems like an undying stream of content? It boils down to three big things every brand absolutely must do in today’s social media landscape to even have a chance. In the simplest of terms, their content must be:
Innovative and fresh
Brands must keep looking for new ways to tell new stories and maintain interest. Social media content doesn’t have to be perfect. But you do need to try to keep pushing forward. If you aren’t failing sometimes with social content, you’re not trying hard enough.
Consumer expectation for this is a result of the bar continuously being pushed upwards by leading brands, but it’s very subjective – “high quality” means different things to different brands, audiences, and even social platforms (for example, Snapchat), but be consistent and thoughtful about what that means in your specific case. It doesn’t always mean “expensive.”
The right, meaningful message at the right time to the right audience – if you don’t have this, the content is frankly wasting everyone’s time, including your brand’s. This one takes the cake above any other “must have.”
In an environment where follower counts have become just about meaningless, especially on Facebook, as has organic brand content – it’s more crucial than ever to give your audience (likely and hopefully via paid promotion nowadays) what they actually want, not just what the brand wants them to want. If you don’t, you risk losing them.
Last year, Adweek’s SocialTimes published an article talking about this subject with some interesting results from a survey they conducted from social media users that follow brands regularly. But, this was all about why they unfollow said brands. Knowing that follower counts are less and less important today, as noted above, the learnings here go beyond what the actual fan and follower numbers mean. The same mindset and behavior of unfollowing can happen with a hide of a sponsored post, or a muting of a Twitter account, for example. It’s all about the consumer discontinuing their connection to the brand.
In other words, strict content calendars can help with planning, production, processes and consistency, but if done with heavy repetition they do pose the risk of over-saturating certain topics, themes, and subject matter. Make sure to keep content umbrellas broad enough to allow for exploration, testing and innovation.
Less can be more, and quality over quantity has never been more real as it is today. It’s not about posting a certain amount of times a week just to post a certain amount of times to “fill a pipeline.” It should be strategic, when needed, where it’s needed, and how it’s needed, and the answer to those isn’t always able to be known far in advance.
With all that noise out there on social media comes the challenge to be as meaningful as possible as a brand, and relevance is the catalyst. If you’re a tire brand, for example, you probably don’t need to be wishing everyone a Happy Ninja Day. This can actually work against your brand if there’s no clear and meaningful connection. As a brand you’re then just adding to that noise.
Make your brand’s social content count. Keep it fresh and interesting. Ensure it’s quality-enough to meet audience expectations, and above everything else – make it relevant! If you do, that’s when these social-media-using consumers come back for more, and when they make that a habit from your brand, you win.
Questions or comments for Jeff? Holler.