Social media for unsociable brands
How do Social Media managers find quality content for a difficult-to-share brands or projects?
In the normal run of things, a social media manager looks for great words and great images to produce content that an audience wants. Great content can lead to interaction, a sense of ‘community’ among followers and lots of organic sharing of posts by your followers.
But whether or not you can tick most of these off your list depends very much on the brand or the project or the organisation that you are representing.
If you’re managing social media accounts for a copyright licensing group, for example, your ability to post interesting snippets that make people want to visit your website or find out more about you, is going to be limited.
The same could be said for a health product that treats a condition that most people don’t want to talk about. Followers may want to read your posts, but they are probably not going to want to share them or comment on them because they will be associating themselves with the unmentionable condition. A lack of shares and comments will have a detrimental effect on the reach of your posts.
And yet, these unsociable brands are using social media – as of course they should – and social media managers are sweating over the content every day.
Presenting the unpresentable
After many hours of fruitless googling and hashtag searches, feeling that I’ve already squeezed all the life out of the product’s website, these are a few of the lessons I’ve learned.
1 Make a list of keywords around your subject or product. Use these in all your searches.
2 Go back and look at the product website again. Every piece of information on there – from the email enquiry address to the history of the business – can form the basis of a post on social media.
3 Introduce the same thing in different ways. A bland sentence in the product/ service description could be presented as:
A quiz format (‘Where was our business launched? (a) The Shard; (b) the local pub; (c) Brazil.)
Look how far we’ve come …
A list of verbs: how will the user benefit from your service or product?
4 Data: what numbers are available about your product or organisation? What can you do with these?
5 Throw open the editorial plan as wide as you can. For instance, if you are managing social media accounts for an organic farm, aside from core information about production, special offers and seasonal produce, your editorial plan could also include:
Current food-related campaigns, e.g. supermarket food waste
Tips for using leftovers
Current food news
Who’s who on the farm
Ugly veg photos
Farm machinery (with a bit of humour tractors and other harvesting equipment could be personalised or presented with a Top Trumps-style scorecard)
Wellington boot news/photos/styles
The journey from fork to plate
History of the farm
6 Remember to keep a balance in your posts between valuable, relevant information for your audience and more direct sales pitching.
7 Use google search under the ‘News’ tab for news stories relating to your unsociable brand.
8 Try to find quotes about your subject – Brainy Quote is a good, searchable source.
9 What’s the user’s experience of the product or service? If possible, develop the product website to gather feedback from customers. They can supply it anonymously and it’s social media gold for you.
10 Search Twitter for keywords and hashtags – you’ll find a lot of junk but also links to some good websites. Always read the bio of the accounts that are posting links that you like – it may be a good idea to follow them.
11 Don’t forget to scroll through the ‘home’ feed of your own account. If your page is following related industries or thought leaders, you should find content there that you could share or link to.
12 Some online newspapers specialise in certain categories of news. For example, Mail Online covers a lot of health issues and female-interest topics. Keep a list of where you find suitable content – after a while you will be able to see which publications are worth checking on a weekly basis.
13 Don’t forget seasonal events. How does Christmas/ Easter/ Thanksgiving/ summer/ winter/ extreme weather/ school holidays/ bonfire night etc. have a bearing on your product or organisation?
In my experience, some weeks will be lean, and others much better. On the plus side, I’ve also found that a slow supply of strong, relevant content means that I inject more personality into the little that I have at my disposal, and that’s always a good thing!
For more …
The Marketing Insider Group has tips to help you survive marketing in another challenging sector – highly regulated industries.
Re-Published article from Rosalind Davies at Ros Davies Communications
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