June 9, 2020

Putting users at the center of your social media content strategy

Putting users at the center of your content strategy

What brands are doing right now 

Brands resort to all sorts of tactics to make sure they are heard and seen (and in some cases, experienced). Basically, they make sure that every little detail of their products, services, and history is available for users to consume. Except… how many users actually need to know all of that? The issue arises when brands solely promote themselves, even at the cost of audience interest. Brands must realize that memes are funny; ‘me-me-me’ is not.  

What users are doing right now 

There are consumers who ‘like’ you, but don’t necessarily like you. Those who Instagram more than they eat. Those who don’t have the time to leave a review. And of course, the troll brigade that is infamous for running the #boycottbrand hashtag. One misstep or one poor customer experience and you can expect a constant flow of social media posts ripping the brand’s reputation to shreds. Each of these groups – and the individual users within each – is driven by something different. Each of them desires and does something distinct. And if brands don’t spend the time to discover these distinctions, their audiences will reject them – or worse, forget them. Personalization became the new normal long before the pandemic. 

So, what should brands do? 

For starters, brands must realize that social media is the digital equivalent of thin ice. You must be watchful, know what to say, and know when not to say anything. Now, more than ever before, your social media agency must wear a content marketing hat. Content marketing is focused on the audience’s pain points, and the audience’s information needs, and that’s how brands should go to market. There’s a place for the brand to talk about itself and its own story; it’s called advertising space. Do not treat your social handles like advertising space. There are stages of a user’s journey when information is what they need, but you can’t expect them to be interested in every intimate detail about you right off the cuff. 

How should brands engage better with users? 

It’s essential that you put the user at the center of your social media and content marketing strategy. The rest will fall into place. Let what, when, how, and where the user wants to consume content be the guiding light for deciding what, when, how, and where you speak to them. Use the following as guardrails while developing a social media content marketing strategy: 

First things first. Understand that the digital universe is about micro-communities, also called personas. Content marketing frees you from the ‘choose only one route’ advertising diktat. Remember, you can never have a one-size-fits-all approach in content marketing. Understand your user and plan accordingly. Take Nike for example. The company has segmented its Instagram handles based on sports interest, demographic, geography, etc. Some of these handles are @nikerunning, @nikefootball, @nikewomen, @nikenyc, and @nikesportswear.  

Secondly, create content with a purpose. You don’t need to create only with a view to ‘sell’ but instead to engage your users in a conversation. Speaking on how to engage users who don’t know enough about you, Jeff Bullas tells us, “Social media is great for what I call top-of-the-funnel brand awareness. You typically don’t sell well with social but you do create that brand awareness which is on top of the funnel. 

Thirdly, constantly monitor content consumption. Believe it or not, the best content marketing strategies will emerge if you merely observe how the user has responded to and consumed your content. Theory is always a great place to start, and that’s why there are best practices. But cracking the code for the right content on the right platform in the right format at the right time for the right person will only come from practice turning into perfection. 

Lastly, remember that it’s only a conversation when it goes both ways. You need to know your customers, and your customers need to know you – not necessarily what you offer, but what you stand for. So humanize your brand by speaking about things your audience cares about. Give them a feeling of person-to-person communication and not product-to-person communication.  

Scatter to the rescue! 

Just kidding. This is not about us or our world-class content marketing solutions. In fact, it’s not even about you. It’s about your customer. And that’s the tea.