Opinions

The Calm in the Eye of the Social Media Storm

Posted by Molly Glover Gallatin on November 7th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

The more the social media landscape shows itself to be an unpredictable and even unruly place, the more brands need to focus on content. Amongst the onslaught of tweets, check-ins, mentions, shares and more, the right content will drive desired brand messaging outcomes and the kind of intelligence that is essential to compete in the multichannel marketplace.

Now, before embarking on a haphazard posting spree, know that over-posting will do more harm than good. Compass Labs’ research has shown that “unlikes” dramatically increase when brands post too often. In fact, we noticed that the more brands post each day, the more fans they lose. However, this is less about the number of posts and more about the quality of the posts. 

Quality content is key, but quality can be subjective; really, it’s defined by relevance to your audience. The best way to ensure your content is relevant is to listen to your audience so you can learn what resonates with them. Take the time to understand your biggest fans: are they sarcastic comedians, business professionals, animal lovers, baseball fans, or yogis? Leverage social networks as the goldmine of self-expression that they are, and let your audiences’ expressions shape your own. Depending on what’s appropriate for your brand, you should be aiming to either entertain or educate your fans and followers, and to do so in a way that is unique, conversational and engaging.

Take for example Star Trek legend George Takei, who can post several times a day and see his memes shared tens of thousands of times each. That’s because the content he shares is unfailingly entertaining and relevant to his audience: he knows that his Fans like animals and science fiction, and have a distinct sense of humor. He also posts interesting and entertaining photos sent to him by his Fans – the epitome of audience-relevant content. Mr. Takei has begun to think of himself as a publisher. Brands need to think this way, too.

Based on Compass Labs’ research, another key point to remember is that the life cycle of a Facebook post is quite short. In fact, a post gains the majority of its traction within 15 minutes of going live. With that in mind, you’ll want to capture user attention immediately. One way to do this is with videos and photos, which absolutely increase engagement and likes. If you have any doubts about this, check out George Takei’s fan page again and see how many fans he has, how many comments he receives for each photo, and how many times each photo is shared.

At the end of the day, posting niceties like, “Great weather here in Seattle! How’s the weather in your town today?” or sharing pages from your corporate site aren’t going to cut it. Those are the posts that lose fans. Listen to your audience (and look within your own company!) to discover the great stories, the gaps in knowledge, or – even better – the secret sauce that drives passion for your brand. If you’re Samsung, post links to the apps and tools that your staff loves for the Galaxy SIII. If you’re L’Oreal, share the latest YouTube video that features a makeup guru giving a tutorial about how to apply your latest eye shadow duo. Own a gym or yoga studio? Post local success stories or inspirational memes. There’s no shortage of great content, but finding the content that will elicit the desired response from your target audience is the key.

You read it every day, but it’s true: social media is a conversation. You have to listen and pay attention, and the content you post must be a response to what you’ve learned. Every post will provide its own analytics that tell of its success or failure. If it’s great, it will be shared and your Fan and Follower count will grow. If it’s without value, you will hear your lone voice echoing across your deserted timeline. Pay attention. Look for the patterns. Discover whether it’s the infographics, the news links, or the talking kittens that give you the most traction. Once you’ve gained an understanding of the types of content your audience prefers, you’ll have a roadmap to your social media success.

Yes, social media can seem as overwhelming as a blaring nor’easter to many marketers, but rest assured that a solid content plan will see you through the storm.

Leave a comment