Monday, January 19th, 2015 | 7 min read
There’s a staggering amount of social media content published every minute (1.3 million Facebook posts, 350k tweets and 100 hours of video), and a lot of it is actually good. Really good. Companies large and small have perfected the art of storytelling on their social channels, and entrepreneurial creatives have amassed enormous followings on YouTube and Instagram.
Between brands like GoPro who make the customer the hero of their content and self-made social media stars like Bethany Mota who have built the kind of die-hard loyal audience many marketing departments only dream of, consumers are saturated with high-quality content.
So how do brands stand out and get noticed in the noisy world of social media? It’s definitely possible, but it’s not easy; it requires consistency, creativity and innovative thinking.
Recently we talked to a wide range of social media experts to learn how they make their social content shine. Their advice was compiled into an in-depth social media guide for content marketers, which is already one of our most-downloaded eBooks.
I’ve selected five actionable tips from the guide that you can apply to your social media strategy today. Let’s get started!
This tip comes from David Kellis, Director of PR & Social Media at The Clorox Company. David recommends that before publishing a piece of social content you should ask yourself, “Would I pay money to promote this post, tweet or pin?” If the answer’s no, then you should probably go back to the drawing board.
This is a great way to keep your team in check and make sure they are consistently publishing amazing content.
I really love this one. In fact, my personal marketing philosophy is: “Only do marketing for companies and products that you truly believe in and are excited about”. Why? Because it shows. If you’re a devoted vegan who manages the social media account for McDonalds, it’s likely that you won’t truly believe in the content you’re creating, and your audience will pick up on that.
Jason Miller, who heads up global content and social initiatives for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, says:
“If you can take your personality and inject it into what you do and the message you share, you’ll be one step ahead in the content marketing game. Audiences can sense when a person is passionate about a certain topic and whether or not they are sincere in their message and delivery. In addition, passion adds credibility and trust which I find missing in much of the content on the web today.”
He suggests that social content creators incorporate elements of their personal passions into their content. For example, Jason often blends Rock n’ Roll references into his posts (he’s a rock photographer and avid music fan).
There’s a famous quote from the father of advertising, David Ogilvy, that says, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Jason suggests that in social media images work like headlines. After all, you have mere seconds to grab the attention of your audience in the overcrowded space of social media.
Treating your visual as the new headline is the way to stand out. “I have seen many instances of text-based content repurposed into a visual format and achieving 10-15 times more views than the original. That is a game changer in the world of content marketing.”
This incredible photo of Lionel Messi (published by Adidas) catches your attention immediately,
even in a crowded Facebook feed.
It’s easy for brands to get carried away with talking about themselves on social media. After all, many companies are still stuck in the way we used to do marketing: TV commercials, radio spots and billboards talking at the customer about how awesome their product is.
Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy for NewsCred, warns content marketers that one of the most common (and detrimental) mistakes they make is creating too much content that is all about the brand, which causes audiences to tune out:
“In order to break through the noise, a brand has to create content that is 100% for the audience. Take the brand out of the story. Make the customer the hero of the stories, and your audience will pay attention. Value is not negotiable in today’s hyper-competitive information landscape.”
Content marketing isn’t just about publishing and promoting brand-generated content. Michael Brito from the digital agency WCG urges organizations to include participatory storytelling in their content marketing strategy.
Participatory storytelling happens through empowering, training and mobilizing brand advocates – both employees and customers – to participate in digital conversations and tell the brand story.
“Brand storytelling is more than just branded content, native advertising or creative campaigns on Facebook. It also involves mobilizing employees to participate and feed the content engine. And it’s not just employees tweeting or sharing company news in social media. It’s about finding good stories about the brand, its products or employees and using long-form content to tell everyone about it.”
Companies should mobilize brand stakeholders, from employees to customers and the media, to participate in their content marketing and help tell the brand story through their unique lens.
Nowadays, with so many things vying for consumers’ attention at any given time, brands have their work cut out for them when it comes to creating social media content that grabs people’s attention.
In fact, you’re not just competing with other social content; you’re competing with never-ending personal to-do lists, awesome TV shows available to stream at any time, status updates from friends, BuzzFeed listicles and so on.
We’ve given you a few ideas about how to create contagious content. So, what will you do to break through the noise? Let us know in the comments below.