By adaptive - January 15th, 2014

Social media thrives on the ability to share content. If your brand creates engaging and creative content, this will be shared on a global scale promoting your business and brand.

Over the past two weeks we have examined the value of content and why it is essential to create content that inspires and excites the consumer. The next step is to uncover ways to get your content shared while simultaneously, linking back to your products and brand. And of course, to understand how content is shared and what kind of content you need to make this happen.

Danny Groner, Manager of Blogger Partnerships and Outreach at Shutterstock says: “Social sharing should be on your mind from the start. If you make the feature and only afterwards consider how it will play on social, you’ve made your job that much harder. We have our social media team participate in all of our creative meetings, start to finish, so that they can ask the questions we’ll need to resolve.”

Content needs to be digestible and easily understood. It needs to carry well within the platform you have selected and it must talk directly to your target market. For many organisations, images and video have become the dominant force for promoting their brand or product.

“Visuals are the key to grabbing eyes in this day and age,” says Groner. “As more reading is taking place on mobile, you have to recognise that you only have a few seconds to make an impression. Choosing images and videos that stand out in their feeds is key. It took a while, but people learned that putting pictures into their posts could lead to more engagement.”

Of course, the next step is to ask if images themselves can become content. For Shutterstock this is an obvious direction for them to take and in one of their recent posts entitled, “20 British words that mean something totally different in the US” they used imagery to great effect and it was one of their most popular posts of 2013.

Content that’s shared

A recent Forbes article, examining some of the leading trends in social media for 2014, upholds the idea that imagery is starting to lead the way in social content, predicting that image-centric networks (such as Pinterest) will see strong growth throughout this year.

To capitalise on the value of imagery for your brand, you need to ensure that your video or photographic content is eminently shareable, likeable and interesting. A great example of this is the Money Supermarket series of adverts. Funny, clever and compelling, readers watch, share, re-watch and actively engage with them. This is one business that understands the value of entertaining and informing and has created content that does precisely that.

Karen Webber, Head of Marketing at Axonn Media, says: “I believe the best way to get people talking about your brand and content is to build a community of your own and keep them entertained and educated with high-quality content that’s been created with them in mind.”

“Start with the assumption that nobody cares about your content, assume that for the first half a second, the person seeing your content is thinking it is spam. This will make you work harder,” says Shawn Roos, Digital Director at Joe Public. “Don’t make videos because you can, make them because they are right. A brand’s point of departure for a content strategy should be about what’s relevant and interesting to the recipient, not what’s relevant or interesting to the brand. Yes, your content needs to be aligned, but it needs to be interesting or helpful first.”

For Mike van der Heijden the SEO Director at leading enterprise search agency Atomic Search it is vital that you are unique and offer something useful that triggers people to want to share it with their own social networks. He suggests asking three questions whenever you craft your content:

1. How many times has this been written by other companies?

2. What would you reply to what you’re writing?

3. Is it really useful for your business?

Linking back

The next step is to consider how your carefully created images, videos and words can be used to link back to your products, services and brand.

“If you’re sharing something useful that directly relates to one of your products and services, it is perfectly fine to mention that on your social networks and link back to your website,” says Van Der Heijden. “However, don’t just create social updates for the sole purpose of doing so as social media is not a place to hard sell your products.”

This is, of course, not a hard and fast rule and can be broken if your content adhered to the other rules mentioned earlier – entertain, inspire, inform. A great example of this was when Dove launched their “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign it was one of the most viewed in history, gathering over 114 million views in the first month alone. Professor Steven van Bellegham says: “In an age where consumers are said to be fed up with advertising, we apparently flock to YouTube in our thousands to watch good commercials.”

“Some brands suffer heavily from promoting themselves via social media, however,” says Lisa Renneisen, Marketing Director at Bright Learning. “I have always found that as long as you balance promotion with other stuff, it works quite well. As long as you are not deceptive, I think this is perfectly acceptable.”

Webber, on the other hand, isn’t sure that content should be about the brand. “Creating content with the exception of product descriptions and the like, should be about helping your audience, whether that is through informing them, solving a problem or entertaining them. Organisations such as Coca-Cola, Red Bull and American Express have built engaged communities around through useful content that isn’t forcing an agenda”

However, the connection from your social content to your site should make it easy for potential customers to find out more about your brand and what it offers them once they have made the decision to do so.

“What you want to do is strike the right balance where your content is powerful and stands on its own, but you still get the peripheral benefits of attachment to it through branding,” says Groner. “The relationship should be implicit and subtle. If you spray your logo all over the place it won’t matter how good the content is underneath, people will tune out and move to the next guy.”

Ultimately, the value of your content as a shared resource that builds brand and product awareness asks that you give your consumers entertainment, information and relevance without pushing too hard.

In the final part of this series we will be examining the power of visualisation and talk to a consumer that curates content for brands to find out what inspires them and why they do it.

The Corporate Social Media Summit New York 2015

June 2015, New York

With over 50 expert speakers (including 15 CMOs and CCOs) from the world’s most social brands, and 300+ of your corporate peers in attendance, #CSMNY offers unrivaled learning, networking and benchmarking opportunities. It is truly THE social media event of year.

Brochure Programme
comments powered by Disqus