It’s the Content, Silly!

Billed as the “anti-Facebook,” the social network Ello was a hot topic last week, after launching in March. Even though the site is still in beta and the company makes it undeniably clear that they’re not playing the advertising game, marketers have already found their way there.  No, really.

And therein lies the problem—the practice of chasing after the new, shiny object, and the focus on making sure you’re on every network out there. It’s happened to the best of us.

Tom Fishburne - The Marketoonist

Don’t get distracted. Before you go all-in on the latest and greatest, shift your focus from the social networks themselves to the actual content you’re pushing out.  Social networks are great channels to reach your customers and potential customers. But if you want your customers to engage, you need great content first.

First step…do a content check-up. If your content could use a little improvement, here are some things to think about:

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

If your brand is on more than one social network, use content that matches each channel.  Understand the dynamics of each network and what kind of content resonates best with each audience. 

For example, Twitter is about getting content out in a very clear, succinct way because of character limitations. On the other hand, on LinkedIn where content generally takes a more professional tone and demonstrates thought leadership, long-form content is absolutely acceptable. 

While it may seem easier to just repurpose content across all your social channels, you run the risk of losing followers.  Your fans don’t want to just see the same content you shared on Facebook when they’re scanning their Twitter feeds. Be creative and keep your content fresh. 

Know Your Audience

Imagine a room full of people talking excitedly about the latest episode of The Mindy Project (and, yes, I’d probably be one of those people). You storm into the room and interrupt the conversation and start talking loudly about an amazing resort you just visited on your summer vacation and then proceed to show everyone the photos you took on your phone. Some people turn around and give you the once-over, then go back to their conversation. Others just ignore you and don’t even bother to look your way. A-w-k-w-a-r-d. 

This scenario plays out all too often in the social media world. Without regard for what might be top of mind for their audience, brands push out content on their social channels in hopes that their fans will care about it. Instead, a post can go virtually unnoticed—no retweets, no favorites, no resonance. 

But what if you actually knew what your audience is talking about right now on a channel like Twitter? Leveraging tools like Spark actually gives you this kind of insight.  Rather than interrupting your followers’ conversations on Twitter, you can join them with relevant content and drive higher engagement.

By understanding in-the-moment topics that matter to its audience, a brand like @Target can tailor its content to align with audience interests and needs. The critical word in that last sentence? Understanding. To get this real-time relevance thing right, brands need to know when they can actually add value, and when they might be better off sitting a trending-topic out. Spark lets you explore the top tweets, photos, and videos related to any trend—helping you quickly assess whether a given trend aligns with your brand values and persona. In this example,  Target, might have chosen to participate in the conversation around Derek Jeter’s retirement  as many other brands chose to do. And even though a quick scan of content related to #howtogetawaywithmurder would reveal that it was about the premiere of a new show on ABC, and not actual criminal advice, Target might avoid that conversation because it doesn’t align with their brand values. 

Spredfast Spark- Understand Conversations

Rinse and Repeat

When it comes to developing effective content, data is your friend.  It’s important to make sure you always take the time to leverage analytics tools and look back at what worked. If data shows that a particular message or a video performed well and really drove engagement, put it back into the rotation. Just make sure to find a way to put a different spin on the content to keep it fresh. 

What are some of your tips on keeping content relevant and effective? Leave your ideas in the comments below.

Justine Navaja's picture

Justine Navaja

@sfjustine
Justine Navaja is Spredfast’s Market Director in San Francisco where she is the lead social business consultant for the west coast. When she’s not talking to brands about social media best practices, you can find her eating her way through the San Francisco restaurant scene or trying to perfect her volleyball serve and her old fashioned cocktail recipe.