SMM Strategy For Brands-2018: editorial policy, clear-cut objectives and no hype

Last Updated: 18.01.2018 14:00

 

Global consumer brands perceive social media content strategy as an essential marketing activity, and this trend will only grow stronger in 2018.

Red Bull, L’Oréal, Nike — these are no longer about energy drinks, cosmetics or sports apparel. They are all about a vibrant life, and the business segment itself is merely touched upon.

Principle #1. Determine The Objectives

A viable SMM strategy sets tangible goals. Until you determine the purpose of a brand’s social media page, it won’t be able to evolve there.

Determine goals according to the SMART principle:

  • S — Specific;
  • M — Measurable;
  • A — Achievable;
  • R — Relevant;
  • T — Time-bound.

Example: I want to increase sales by 30% compared to the present time using a new 100-post content plan, enlisting over 20K new followers in two months without engaging an agency.

The efficiency of operations as related to the main objective should be monitored weekly, weak spots and mistakes identified, and then, equipped with statistics, you can adjust your short-term strategy. Even if not all of your indicators correspond to reality at the end of the set period, you’ll already have a clear vector. And that’s crucial.

Principle #2. Tune Up All Your Social Media Pages

Filling out the profile is the critical stage. Brand descriptions in different social media networks should resonate closely with each other. From profile description to visual style, there should be no contradictions anywhere. The audience should be able to link all the pages into a logically coherent whole rather than scramble through the differences.

Update the cover and profile pictures – they should blend well on all platforms. You may play around and use different formats within the same style. But you need to be flexible.

For example, Facebook allows animated covers and profile photos, while Instagram doesn’t. This shouldn’t mean that the brand’s Facebook avatar should remain static until Instagram also adds a similar function.

Starbucks “Blond espresso” SMM campaign

Unify the messages’ visual style and informational tone. Post styles should also have something in common, they may even look almost the same. However, copying posts from one page to another is not a good idea – it will seem like either you don’t understand the difference between social media platforms, or, what’s even worse, you are lazy.

If a whole team is working on your brand pages, use templates with an approved design and adjust them according to the brand-book.

Principle #3. Stay Focused On Your Subject

Before starting to interact with your audience, you need to understand who you are and what your segment is, what you’d like to talk about and, what’s most important – with what purpose? According to Inc., the focus is one of the 2018 content marketing trends.

If you’re still uncertain and keep changing the direction a dozen times a week, this lack of clarity will be passed over to the audience and will play against you. But as soon as you form a clear image of the brand and an understanding of how it should be perceived by consumers – that’s half the work of creating an efficient social media promotion.

Let’s say you’re a furniture manufacturer. If you simply say to the world, “We manufacture and sell tables,” no one will even hear you, because ten thousand other brands may say the same about themselves. Narrow down the range and define your brand as precisely as you can.

Economy or premium, individual designer projects or mass-market, minimalist or luxurious, serious or adventurous, traditional or contemporary? That’s how you may choose your communication style, cater to your customers’ needs and resonate with them.

The greater the list of these questions, the simpler it will be to build a content strategy that will correspond to your objectives and values. An image of Japanese interior decoration traditions won’t pop up on the page of a Scandinavian furniture brand, and a premium furniture brand won’t go into discussing DIY furniture assembly – a subtle joke in passing, at most. And, certainly, none of them need any automobile-related posts.

Principle #4. Plan Each And Every Step

There’s no successful product without an idea, there’s no social media promotion without a long-term-plan. You can’t rely on inspiration where content is concerned. The only result brought on by spontaneity is chaos, and no one needs that. Create a general content plan for six months, a more detailed one for the month, and an exhaustive plan for the week – with topics, categories and objectives – in Google Docs, Asana or Trello.

For instance: 30% of the content are devoted to the product and its usefulness for the client, 50% of the posts are inspirational and generally useful, while direct interaction with the audience comprises 30%.

The Starbucks USA Instagram page, 25 November – 4 December, different formats:

  • Image – cards promo
  • GIF – announcement of collaboration and launch of limited design cards
  • Image – survey
  • Album with images and GIF – inspiration and charity
  • GIF – inspiration
  • Image – seasonal product ad

Adhere to a comfortable pre-set pace – a post daily or several posts per week. If you publish content daily, and then stop for a month, the audience will take it as a bad sign. People like a sense of everything going as planned, worked out, cut and dried – it’s relaxing and helps focus on the essentials. Experiment carefully – if the audience gets a feeling that you’re still ‘soul-searching’, and will cease to understand what to expect, it will turn away. People like certainty.

Adjust your content plan within the SMM campaign if the analytics suggests that you should, not because you feel like it, or there’s an emergency.

Principle #5. Quality Content Is The Top Priority

Every minute 293,000 new statuses and 136,000 new photos appear on Facebook, and 66,000 new images pop up on Instagram. With this kind of diverse content saturation, publishing a post just for the sake of it is pointless. You have to create value that will keep people coming back.

In the context of content competition and with the constant change in ranking algorithms, no one can guarantee that your post will definitely be seen by your audience. However, if it is, and turns out to be sloppy, boring and useless, your subsequent posts will have fewer and fewer chances. Every shot should hit the bull’s eye, or at least be in the nearest vicinity.

Example: Hennessy — every ‘line’ in the feed is devoted to a separate topic, and each of the three ‘windows’ in a line starts off with a similar image.

If there are photos in your graphics, it should be perfectly sharp and high-resolution. It’s better to augment it with filters to attain the required degree of fuzziness or opacity than uploading a low-quality one and leave it as is, a la creative style.

Don’t be afraid of photo stocks – if you have an aesthetic sense, you can make powerful content with others’ photos, and if you don’t – even a personal studio won’t save you.

Principle #6. Avoid Monotonous Content

Don’t mix up consistency and monotony – if you only publish posts with photographs and avoid videos or GIFs (one of the 2018 trends), then you’re limiting yourself. The same goes for the presentation of information and color palette – keep to your course, but be flexible, play around, experiment. Every new step should be evaluated – analyze the statistics, and see what’s best embraced by the audience and constantly create something fresh and new.

Example: Apple Instagram page, photos, videos and galleries in the feed start with dynamic GIFs and continue with the best frames from these GIFs.

It’s the golden era of video in marketing. On the average the users remember 95% of the information they acquire during a video, and only 10% of that received from reading a text. Videos get 1200% more shares on social media than text and image posts combined.

Dionne Taylor, Director of Australian Communications Agency, Polkadot Communications says you should try to mix up your content and ensure it’s creative using a variety of programs such as Boomerang, for example. “Consumers want variety, they don’t just want to look at a static image in their feed, so mix it up with a range of videos, slow mo, faced paced content that’s going to keep the consumer engaged”.

If you find static content more appropriate, don’t just publish photos or graphics with captions, but create stories – collect useful infographics, step-by-step manuals, compose a ‘before and after’ kit. Monotony lulls the audience to sleep, and the same content over the course of several months bores people.

Principle #7. Get Close To The Consumer

The consumer has to feel that the brand is not indifferent to him or her – first you distinguish him or her among the rest, then he selects you. The simplest way to demonstrate this love and respect is via polls and tagging.

If you interact closely with your followers – tag them appropriately in posts, ask to test products and share their impressions, conduct exclusive Stories activation – you’ll be able to see who the most attentive ones are. And after you have realized who is the core of your audience, it’s thrilling to conduct mini-projects with them, reward them with products or at least with attention, granting them honorable mentions in further posts.

Well-known people inspire greater confidence, so engage people who are familiar and interesting to the audience during each of your SMM campaign. In 2018, the trend of engaging micro and macro-influencers in the life of brands and their followers will gain momentum.

That’s why it’s essential to find influencers who will support your brand.

A special level of trust is exemplified by inviting an influencer to create something palpable for your brand. For instance, to develop a new label design or participate in any of your event. In this case, the consumer becomes the ‘co-owner’ of the brand image, and partly associates him/herself with it. He/she gets a moment of fame and respect, and other users want to take his/her place and follow new opportunities closely. It’s the perfect approach from a strategic standpoint.

Principle #8. Get Ahead Of The Trends

One of the most effective ways of developing an engaged audience on social media is to relate to them. We live in a millenial ruling era, and social media is the driving force. Trending topics and viral hashtags are very powerful tools on social. Whether it be to create conversation, or to have fun with your brand, getting involved with trends on social is highly effective in driving engagement. We’ve seen it many times across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, whether it be a tongue in cheek tweet from a supermarket, a well thought out bit of content from a fashion brand, or a spin on the ice bucket challenge.

Creating content around viral trends is the perfect strategy for engagement. As the trend is already viral and a hot topic for consumers, your content will ride that wave too, providing you with a ready made platform, more engagement, and less work. Of course, the best way to do this is to plan in advance, research upcoming viral hashtags, national days, and create a calendar of upcoming trends. Of course it’s also vital to schedule posts to your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook in advance, freeing up your time to create the best content.

If You Already Have An Approved SMM Strategy, Check It Against This List:

  • Your SMM strategy has clear objectives, and the plans have stringent time constraints;
  • Pages have something in common visually and content-wise;
  • Clear positioning focus;
  • Content is prearranged, every post is planned;
  • Perfect quality in everything;
  • Diverse formats;
  • Audience has a feeling that you love it.

If everything clicks, the brand audience will only increase – and so will your business.

 

 

 

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Kate Nut
++ Editor
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