Social Media Content
Social Media Content: Brief Summary
Social media content is content created by private individuals or companies for social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. This is particularly interesting for companies because it enables interaction with users to be much more direct than with classic marketing activities. However, it must be more strongly aimed at the target audience and must not degenerate into a straightforward advertising campaign in order to have its full effect.
Social Media Content: Detailed Summary
Social media, i.e. tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even YouTube, are now part of everyday life for many thousands of people and are used to this effect to share things like photos from holidays or the latest party. However, social media platforms and the content placed on them also serve more and more people as a source of information and have even replaced classic media such as television or newspapers in some cases. Social media content is therefore very important for companies as part of their marketing strategy. The content on social channels can have a considerable reach, and it is often more effective than classic advertising due to its proximity to the user. It may even have a positive influence on Google rankings, thanks to positive comments. However, social media content also follows its own rules and therefore requires its own strategy.
A special feature of social media is the high degree of interaction with the user because the user can directly give feedback or leave comments on certain content by clicking on “Like” or an equivalent button. Users also contribute as a community by sharing the content to spread it further across their social media channels. In order to be successful with social media and to benefit from the word of mouth of users, the content must be of high quality, and it must be properly geared towards the users or the target audience. Of course, the channel itself also plays a role: you shouldn’t publish a multi-page guidebook or a long picture tutorial on Twitter or Instagram, while endless one-liners don’t do well on Facebook.
Finding the right words… or the right images
Social media content offers companies numerous marketing opportunities. But how do you find the right strategy for your online presence on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question because deciding which social media content is suitable for a company depends on the objective of the marketing campaign and on the type of goods or services that the company offers. However, here are some tips that will make it easier to decide on a strategy. Possibly the most important, especially at the beginning, is to use “tried and tested” formats for social media content, for example:
- Advice and how-to guides
- Reviews and expert opinions
- Short messages on special occasions.
Guides and tutorials are among the most popular content on social media and are shared thousands of times via Facebook and YouTube. Companies that want to promote their products and services can use tutorials as an introduction to social media content. For example, a parquet flooring manufacturer could share a video that shows tips on how to lay parquet quickly and smoothly. This demonstrates to the viewer the attractiveness of the product and also that they achieve the best possible result. With social media content, the content must always appear honest and authentic – the advice should provide genuine help and not just be an advertisement for products disguised as a tutorial.
Another approach to advice is exemplified by the blender manufacturer Blendtec. Its YouTube video series “Will it blend?” was enthusiastically received by the community and became a great success. In each video of the series, the company founder tests whether objects such as an iPhone or even industrial diamonds can be pulverised using the company’s blenders – with sometimes explosive results. This kind of humorous content is particularly popular on social media, and the videos make a noticeable contribution to brand awareness. Each video serves as an advertisement with a clear message: Blendtec products prove themselves even under the toughest conditions.
Similarly, reviews or expert opinions on certain topics are as effective as guides and tutorials. Given the fast pace of social media, the content should be as up-to-date as possible. For example, scientists have found out that regular exercise is not just good for your health; it also makes you more resistant to stress at work. This is the perfect opportunity for a fitness studio to publish a few posts on Facebook or their blog, referring to the relevant research. The tips and content must be accurate – because, with an active community, even small inaccuracies in the posts are quickly revealed and do not serve to put the company in a good light. Advertising is also not welcome in reviews, so marketing should instead focus on the review or product test outcome.
Sometimes, marketing campaigns that use Twitter can be very effective. For example, during a trade fair visit, a company might inform users about their current products and developments via Twitter. When launching a new product to the trade, Twitter can help generate hype. Regular tweets can be used to make consumers repeatedly aware of the product, creating a certain amount of expectation and anticipation in the build-up to the commercial launch.
The next step – involving the users
In principle, it is possible to publish social media content for marketing purposes that only allows a small degree of interaction with users. Guides and reviews can be shared and commented on, but not much more can be done with a video or a few posts.
The online presence of companies on Facebook, Instagram etc., ultimately thrives on interaction with the user. The aim is to appeal to users, increase their bond with the company and, in the best case, turn them into brand ambassadors who recommend and represent the company and its products based on personal experience. Interactive content is very useful in helping to achieve these kinds of results, and even small actions can have a big impact. For example, a survey on Facebook can demonstrate that the opinion of customers is important to a company. The survey should not take too long; after all, the company wants information from the user, not the other way around. Giving away prizes as a reward for taking part in a survey can work wonders in such cases.
Quizzes and raffles are also big incentives when it comes to marketing via social media content. The opportunity to put one’s knowledge to the test – and perhaps win something in the process – is irresistible for many. As part of the quiz, the user engages with certain topics, preferably related to the company, thereby building a relationship. If they like the quiz, they will come back or perhaps share the quiz and thus contribute to brand awareness.
Contests and competitions are a special form of social media marketing in which users create the content. This user-generated content requires a particularly high degree of interaction because instead of the channel operator, it is primarily the users who are needed to make the content. The channel, therefore, needs an active community of fans who are willing to “sacrifice” their free time.
Alternatively, users can be encouraged to participate in a competition by being offered prizes. Whether the competition is about the name of a new product, ideas for new products or something else entirely is ultimately a secondary concern because the real goal is to involve the users. They will identify more strongly with the company, and getting involved with the brand improves its image and increases awareness.
The term “social media content” basically covers all content that is created for or published via social media. Unlike with Google AdWords or similar online marketing, with social media content, companies try to reach users on a personal level. Authentic content that is not purely for marketing purposes offers real added value to users. Advice and posts on Facebook, an employee photo story on Instagram, regular tweets from the company founder or the development department make the company appear approachable and human, demonstrating that it cares about its customers. Content such as competitions, quizzes and lotteries require the user to engage with the company and will therefore create a stronger bond with the brand.
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