When it comes to social, there’s a lot more than meets the eye, which is ironic because social platforms are so visual. The uninformed will assume that social is easy, there isn’t much to it, and that you don’t need to give it much thought. That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.
In order to get the most out of a social strategy, you need to look at the bigger picture. You need to take a step back from your brand (or your client’s) and figure out what role you want social media to play within your broader digital marketing strategy. What exactly is social media? How do you approach it? Does it even add value?
Being a Lead Digital Marketing Strategist, social media is something I have to deal with daily – and it’s also something I’ve come to realize that most people have a pretty hard time understanding.
In order for me to shed some light on the process which I’ve developed for my team and my agency in order to streamline the creation of a cohesive content marketing strategy, you must first understand the way I see social media as a whole. To me, this is one of the most important aspects of understanding social and how to make it work for you.
Social is Life
Social media to me has always been, and will always continue to be, a lifestyle play. I’ve said this in meetings and echoed it through the halls at my office many times.
In my opinion, brands that share lifestyle content consistently out-perform those that don’t (on average). Good photos, images that invoke emotion, and content that positions you and your brand as a leader within your given industry form the backbone of what I like to think is a very strong content marketing strategy. Social is inherently an inbound marketing platform, meaning that the goal is to provide value to your followers for free with the hope that they will keep you top-of-mind when eventually ready to purchase. This isn’t to say that a promotional post here and there is a bad thing, but it must be done tastefully to the point that it doesn’t distract from your brand’s online digital aesthetic.
Always ask yourself: Would I follow this brand? If so, why? What value does it provide to me? Is the content engaging? Would I mind if this content was in my news feed?
If you had trouble answering positively to some of these questions, it might be time to rethink your social strategy and the content that you want your brand to put out.
If you take away one thing from this article, have it be that no one likes to be repeatedly approached on social with a hard sell.
While selling on social can be done if done correctly, most people are on social media to connect with friends and interact with brands as if they were family. Social media provides you with the opportunity to connect with fans in a way that wasn’t possible even 10 years ago. Don’t burn bridges by force feeding products down the throats of your audience, rather, share content and imagery that comes across to them as valuable, genuine and appeals to their senses.
For example, take a look at Mi Elote (a client of mine) that shares content that appeals to the foodie lifestyle while occasionally including posts that address their various brand values. Need more? Check out Zico and Boxed Water.
Social is Evolving
FACT: social media is an ever-changing beast.
As such, it’s important to stay flexible. While the strong social and content marketing strategy must rely on a fair amount of planning, you never want to get so regimented that you’re unable to adapt to the changing landscape. Doing so will make it difficult when these inevitable updates make their way to you.
In order to stay relevant, social media platforms need to be constantly updated and their algorithms tweaked. These platforms are businesses, after all, and need to retain users in order to survive. This means that they’ll be continually looking for ways to provide the best user experience, often at the expense of the brands that are trying to get a user’s attention. In my opinion, change is good. It forces us as marketers to be innovative and discover new ways to interact.
At the end of the day, if you treat your fans like friends and family, you’ll be okay. If you push products on them and spam them with advertisements, not so much.
What are some brands that you think approach a lifestyle-based content strategy well?