Social Media is now an established enough frontier that every post, not just every platform, should serve a purpose. While creating “disruptive” content might garner likes, follows and other vanity metrics, devising and executing a long-term, cohesive social strategy will win the long game. Whether observing or participating, by opting in to a social media platform, both businesses and consumers are setting out to indulge a need or combination of needs. As explained in, “Maximizing Impact of Social Advertising in an Evolving Landscape,” Social Media involvement serves to connect, accomplish, interact and/or teach.
Just as your Social Media strategy should be aligned to and integrated with your multichannel marketing strategy, the plan you establish for each social platform should work together. Pushing the same content across all channels will likely cause your audience to limit themselves to choosing one platform to follow you on in order to avoid consumption redundancy. Thus, creating different but related content for each platform, centered around the need state best satisfied by the platform, will allow you to generate a loyally tuned-in audience across all networks. Similarly, by ensuring that each platform fits together and builds on the next, your content will be chapterable, thereby hooking the audience for the long haul.
In addition to setting separate intentions for each platform, every post should indulge a specific need state so that your target is constantly compelled to return to your accounts. As we get closer to a world without like numbers and follower counts, it is increasingly important to create content that would encourage actual engagement, versus merely attention. Before posting, marketers should ask themselves questions such as, “Will consumers/customers want to save this post?” Or “Will audience members want to share this post?” Consistency in posting material that fosters a sense of community, contributes to productivity, facilitates one to one connection or educates drives value and establishes a brand as a worthwhile voice.
So what does an engaging, cohesive social strategy look like? In the fitness apparel space, several brands use a separate, designated Twitter handle specifically for customer service inquiries to alleviate service issues. These brands encourage their ambassadors to interact with consumers on Snapchat, post Instagram stories for sizing information with each new design launch and YouTube tutorials for healthy recipes and tough workouts.
Along the same lines, partnerships with influencers or other brands should be just as intentional. Our research highlights the unfortunate fact that often times, social media influencer partnerships drive engagement for the influencer, but not the brand. To ensure co-created content garners brand engagement and affinity, if the content is intended to teach, provide thought leadership or inspiration that is uniquely associated with your positioning. If your co-created content is intended to connect, include as many links to your other platform presences as possible. And if your co-created content is designed with the hopes of accomplishment, excite users by messaging to them that their involvement is part of an iterative process to perfect your offering.
Ultimately, though, a well-rounded social strategy includes as much pull as it does push. In the midst of whipping up exciting fodder, don’t forget to react and respond once your posts are out in the world. Social Media is an exchange, a relationship, and the only way to maintain a relationship is to keep the dialogue going. The content strategy shouldn’t end with the publish button.