Marketing is important, but the purpose of social media is building relationships.
Feel free to disagree, but when managing a social media account on behalf of a brand it’s easy to forget why you are there. Officially you are there to help bring attention to your brand, sell products, provide customer service, and support whatever else your organization does; however, if you wish to be successful, your primary mission is being social with your audience or community.
Many social media managers still believe posting pictures of cats, memes, and semi-relevant topics to their brands with a request for Likes is a suitable way to drive your mission; however, it will likely fall short and only create temporary spikes in your data set. While there are exceptions to this, any major brand that sells a product won’t be generating a relationship with their audience with this method. This is not a strategy, it’s just filler.
Before adding content to your social media editorial calendar you should ask yourself a few questions:
- Does this topic have anything to do with my brand?
- Will my followers or fans care about this?
- Will this topic encourage a conversation with us?
- Am I just trying to get likes?
- Are my followers online at this time?
These questions all fall to the same theme, which is understanding your audience and their needs. If you are simply attempting to generate likes, retweets, and +1’s, how will this help your brand?
The Social in Social Media
If you manage to use a meme that is relevant to your brand, generates a conversation, and is not just filler, awesome. But at the end of the day a consumer company won’t increase sales because a fan liked a picture of Grumpy Cat. Even worse than filler, your marketing department could be imposing that a majority of your content be sale pitches.
While there is not an official percentage for how much marketing to social content you should share, pitching more than 15% of the time is not ideal. Some traditional marketers are purely focused on generating leads, regardless of how they do it. I have worked with them in the past, and it’s a recipe for disaster. These are the same marketers that spam your email inbox and jump right to a sale.
This same mentality can leach into your social media efforts as well, which is another fine example of why it’s important to withhold some power over your content. A company that doesn’t understand this might as well get an intern to do the job, because then there will be no challenged opinions.
Each brand has its own specific recipe for success when it comes to social media, so there is no silver bullet to make it work for you. However, below are some simple suggestions that will help you establish that you’re not just using social media as a megaphone, but as a tool for communication. Keep in mind whatever you do end up sharing on your branded social media accounts should always be sincere. People will see-through forced conversations and be put off by them.
Become a Thought Leader
At times memes are used to breakup content, but having someone in your organization create a blog post or video update that shows they know their industry can lead to several successful results. Thought leadership can lead to increased press opportunities, direct questions based on provided content, speaking opportunities, and an increase of views and shares for your content.
Highlight Your Fans/Followers/Customers
If you see something a customer or community member has done that looks good for your brand, share it! State how it made the brand feel, or more specifically show emotion. Brands with emotions and interests are easier to relate to then a sales pitch and meme sharing machine. This method could also intrigue other members to share what they have done in hopes to fulfill their esteem needs, which increases engagement, conversations, and potential brand loyalty.
Share Related Content
It would be great if you could generate enough content to always fill your feeds, but that is often impossible. A brand’s page or feed can still establish thought leadership by sharing content that matters to those who follow you, or you are pursuing to have follow you. If you can tag the originator of the content as well, it could also open the door for a potential content sharing partnership.
Chat With the Press
Now that you are producing original content that shows you know your industry, you want the press to pick up on it. Journalists love Twitter, and you are likely to find they are among the most engaged users on the network; however, keep in mind the national news journalists like those who work at CNN receive a lot of tweets, so don’t feel bad if they ignore you. Start with local publications and work your way up. If you have a public relations team though, you’ll want to talk to them before doing this.
Do you have problems with other executives and coworkers trying to control your social media content? Leave examples below or feel free to reach out, I’ll cover that topic later this week (probably).