An appropriate content strategy is the critical success factor which decides the failure or success of a brand’s social media journey. The congruence of expectations between brand and community members decides the fate of a brand’s social media exposure. Some key aspects if dealt adequately can differentiate a brand’s social media campaign. This article draws an analogy of a ‘feed’ to content that is shared with the user on a social networking channel like Twitter or Facebook.
When a kid should be fed depends on factors like waking hours of the kid, time availability of the parent, preparation time for the food and the time of the day. When an adult needs to feed oneself depends on factors like health consciousness, stress at work and exercise schedule. Likewise, in social media the timing of making a post on Facebook / LinkedIn or tweeting on Twitter, makes a lot of difference. The brands need to consider the timeline in which their target audience exists ensuring their right frame of mind to receive and absorb the message that brand wants to convey. Factors like the time required by brand to organize that content are critical. For instance, a message targeted to adults being broadcasted in rush hour may not be a good idea. The brands need to schedule their content generation tasks in backward manner, so that the right content is available for disposal at the right time.
Adults are self-aware or well-guided by doctors or elders in the family about the nutritious food that should be fed to the kids. As a kid grows up, his /her likings emerge and change at a different rate through stages of growth. It’s likely to change at a very fast pace in teens and possibly much slower during 40s. With the innovation in food products, the choice of food available varies extensively now, but the underlying ‘ideal’ objective remains the same, i.e. consumption of nutritious food for healthy development. Similarly, the community built around a brand needs to be provided with rich content that primarily aids the members to
- remain engaged with the community and have a ‘sense of belonging’
- become more knowledgeable about the products/services
Though, on a larger scale one might consider all community members around a brand to be uniform in nature, at micro level there exist, some subtle differences, strong enough to create a difference in expectations. The brand should recognize these differences and plan its content mix in such a manner that it satisfies majority of them, if not every individual. Though people may not be sure about what they love to be fed but almost every time you are aware of what you hate. The brands should prepare informative, helpful content for its community members, and not just adopt selling approach.
Most of us may remember our parents building stories around stars, moon etc and sometimes fear factor too to cajole us for eating when we were kids. As we grow up the food outlets/brands capitalize on our temptations by the way they advertise. The community members also need a convincing reason to assimilate the content bombarded at them. The brands need to acknowledge that the content they publish on their wall, does invade the News Feed (in Facebook) and Timeline (in Twitter) of the community members. Though brands might take a stand that they didn’t invite people to join the brand community, they must refrain from cluttering the community member’s territory with uninteresting content and annoy members. The storytelling approach can be followed to make a case about the content being shared by the brand. The length of the story is a crucial factor considering the diminishing attention span syndrome. Emphasis needs to be laid on message length and its tone.
The quantity of food to be fed is dependent on the nutritional requirement. In order to remain healthy both over-eating and under nutrition has to be avoided. Likewise, brands should recognize that they can’t expect their community members to respond and engage with each and every post. Though brands might be successful enough to create content, it should be kept in mind how adaptive their receivers are. This may require ‘hits and trials’ and significant changes as the community evolves.
The above factors do not constitute a ‘comprehensive list’ for an effective content strategy but they are surely critical to success.
What’s your opinion?
About the Authors:
Vijayendra Haryal & Anandan Pillai are authors of the first comprehensive book on Social Media in the Indian Context titled “Social Media Simplified: Twitter, Facebook – Beyond Casual Networking”. This is listed amongst Top 10 New Releases by Odyssey [Facebook page, Twitter handle: @smsbeyond].