3 Ways To Great Social Content

facebookAttention is the new oil. The average reach of pages’ content in users News Feed is 8 %. People’s News Feeds are more cluttered with noise than ever before – leaving brands in a competition for attention. The hunt for impressions have led to a wave of branded content without any actual value – neither for the brand nor the users. I’ve seen photos of cute animals doing funny things and posts encouraging me to “Like” if I’m looking forward to the upcoming weekend, from brands in both the food industry as well as the tech industry. Content without context are just messages without any homes. Without any connection to your brand. In this post, I present 3 key points to include when creating content for social media to ensure that your content will make sense for your community and your brand strategy.

 

 

1. Create patterns

Things are moving fast. You have to grab attention and at the same time make people understand the essence of your message. People will first understand your messages when they see a pattern – something that makes sense to their own life, and something that connects to the image of your brand. The most valuable content is when it manages to combine both. If your content does this, you’ll get peoples understanding – which is key for creating the very thing that makes people bond with your brand.

To ensure that you always drive conversations around relevant topics and in the right context, build a strong conversational calendar. Define a list of topics or themes that you can create conversation about based on your values, beliefs and target group. Connecting your brand and product to consumer passions points drives engagement.

What you talk about must make sense and be in thread with your brand identity. That’s the only way the brand remains authentic and provides its audience with clear intangibles to identify with.

 

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2. Evoke emotions

Make your content entertaining, or cut it. Entertainment is to evoke people’s emotions. That has always been the purpose of advertisement and the same goes for your social content. Think of why you share the given piece of content – what would you like to convey and how should your community use it? You should know the purpose of your content before asking fans to take their time to listening to it.

“Creativity” will probably be the word of the year. As it’s getting easier to duplicate, people’s attention – which they will memorize – will be focused on the epic stuff – things that are hard to copy. Like a space jump for example. Or a moonwalking pony. I think we’ll see some big creative productions during this year, and I hope it will be in collaboration with community management initiatives that can maintain the attention those productions are gaining.

When planning and executing creative solutions, ensure that the strategy is in place and that you have a plan for distribution, evaluation and maintenance. Put efforts into editorial planning.

greatness

 

3. Show passion

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you show passion for your business idea, you’ll inspire your community to the same. People probably joined your community in first place because they liked your product or service. Use the opportunity to enrich their knowledge about your brand and it’s values. What your brand reflects is what people want to identify themselves with. Does your brand have a social mission? Show it. The brands that care most wins.

A part of showing passion is also to acknowledge the people in your community. Those are the ones that fuel the attention and the organic growth of your community. Don’t underestimate the opportunity of sharing user-generated content as this works as peer-to-peer recommendations and giving transparency to your brand.

The interactions people do on Facebook – such as updates, comments and likes – tell who they are and what they believe in. People base their self-esteem on how the community sees them, which means that the community helps drive people’s identities. This is essential to take into consideration when you want people to engage with your brand. Think of what the interactions people make with your page or your content, tell about a person’s identity. Remember, people share your content with their friends because they want response. If content is created in a way it can be re-shared, you can help your users to show their friends what they believe in. In my post about  Social Design, you can read more about the connections between communities, identities and conversations.

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As any other advertisement you do, you want to affect people with the content you share. Getting them to understand and connect with your brand and its values, you create a stronger bond of loyalty with your target group.

 

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!