Social media demands a daring duality: strategic thinking and spontaneous action, instant impressions and lasting value, deeper insights and wider outreach.
It’s safe to say social media has changed the playing field. The attention-challenged world thrives on bite-sized punchy content and real-time social sharing. It takes a really refreshing post or piece of messaging to stop the scrolling and start the engagement. In this context, not being present is not even an option. Losing your brand story in the excitement of a new opportunity is also a danger lurking in the shadows. How do social audiences behave? Why do social opinions matter?
Leaders v followers
It is often said that counting your followers is succumbing to the false charms of a vanity metric. What you need to know about your followers is what pushes their buttons, what ignites their passion, what fires their imagination and what endears them to your brand. You have three seconds to make a first impression. Your brand needs to be true to its values, its voice. It cannot adopt a spray-and-pray strategy. If you want the followers, be a leader. And don’t be afraid to follow those who have done it better.
Storytellers v sharers
A well-etched brand story lends itself organically to every social space. It becomes exciting teasers, pictorial encapsulations, informative bytes, video narratives, animated demos. More importantly, it leverages every format and every audience set with the right nudges for engagement and the right triggers for sharers. Behind the seemingly instant post and spontaneity is a thought-through social media strategy that keeps the guardrails in place even as it sets a brand free to explore.
Pain v gain
Social media communication is intensive work. But the rewards are instant and buzz is palpable. A strategic plan is a necessity, refreshing content is a game changer. More of the same or lazy posts are only counterproductive. Social media creativity perhaps needs to be more engaging than any other touchpoint, given the blink-of-a-eye time window we are working with and an audience not known for being patient or forgiving. It requires stamina, speed and unfailing regularity. No matter what, the brand must commit to being proactive, to being present.
Reputation v recognition
Social media is a powerful reputation-enhancing tool. It is perhaps the smartest way to manage expectations, respond to consumer issues, prove brand values and address unforeseen problems. A great social media strategy builds in the likelihood of unexpected corporate setbacks or global dilemmas such as the pandemic for instance. Equally, social media blueprints must also fold in elements for brand recognition – pride in achievements, emphasis on differentials, reiteration of values and commitment. Ultimately it must circle back to demonstrate integrity and responsibility.
Social media comes with its own grammar. Brands that set ground rules, enjoy the groundswell. Needless to say, we cannot set out to go viral. But if we set out to be engaging while being on-brand, entertaining while being educative, we set the snowball in motion. Point your strategy to the true north and you’ll find your brand finding exponential traction in all directions.