Program vs Always-On Social Content

When discussing content from a marketing perspective we must be focused on what is supposed to do. And let’s be clear, it is marketing so we are trying to sell something – an idea, product or service.

The biggest problem with that statement is that we must not look at every piece of content as “selling” content. There is a time and a place to use the platforms and content to drive and offer and work as low in the sales funnel as possible. I call them “programs”. Others call them campaigns. This is an effort surrounding one theme, product or event. Usually they have their own budgets and expected outcomes.

But there needs to be content in your calendar that allows followers to fall in love with your brand. This is not possible in the selling phase. Too much to ask. But the best brands do this. Nike, Starbucks and Wendy’s to name a few. (Full disclosure – Wendy’s is a client) They create always-on content that gives the consumer or potential consumer time to relax and relate to the brand. To enjoy each other and become “friends”. This content can be funny. It can also be educational or time saving. Look at it more as brand building.

It’s a fact in the social landscape that clicks and actions are not the only viable metric. I could argue that they are not even a good metric. That’s another post. But now platforms are measuring impressions. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram do this. And they have proven, with brand-lift studies and the like that these impressions are impacting the way a consumer thinks about your brand.

Lots to consider here. But the takeaway should be to lighten up on the sales talk in your social efforts. Even just a little. And when you need to run ads in here, do it, and when you can just engage and show a softer side, do that. There is no 8-step process here.

As always, please let me know if this makes sense or if you have a different though on the subject.

Program vs Always-On Social Content

Who Owns Your Tattoo?

In a meeting with global agency holding company legal reps yesterday the rights issue around tattoos became a great conversation topic.

I have previously, do know and will, in the future, work with athletes. These athletes are becoming more and more A-list celebrities and on camera more than ever. And even more relevant, they are part of the marketing world as endorsers and spokespeople.

This topic was not even a conversation 10 years ago. Tattoos were related to thugs and those thugs would never help a brand appeal to their target market. Not the case any longer. Tattoos have gone from prison to artwork in no time and have become mainstream.

Imagine if you hire an artist to paint you a picture. You love her style and really have no specifics other than she do it. She comes up with the subject matter, layout, size, etc. She paints away and is very happy with it. You arrive at the studio and love it, also. And when it’s on your wall at home all your friends are amazed and would love to hang one on their wall. So you have it scanned and print a version for them. That, legally, crossed the line. Even though you paid her to do this work and you own the paining the artist owns the intellectual property or the creative rights to the painting.

This NPR article talks about Colin Kaepernick and his tattoos. And how The wildy-popular Madden game has finally decided to add his ink, and only his, because they had right to do so. The artist that designed, illustrated and then tattooed him signed away the right to Colin.

The fact is that with any form of art – paintings, photos, sculptures, and yes, tattoos, you may own the piece but you don’t own the right to creative.

Next-level stuff now includes landmarks. If I post a pic of the Eiffel Tower I may be in the wrong. This article from the Digital Trends blog says so. Rule of thumb is that if it’s more than 15% of the skyline it may violate copyright laws.

The bottom line is that if you or your clients plan to use their likeness to make money and any of this is in question you need to consider the rights of ownership.

Who Owns Your Tattoo?

When Does a Brand Have the Right to Post?

I am amazed at times at what brands feel appropriate to post about and engage in on social channels.

A solid strategy should outline what you should be posting about. That should be places you can make emotional connections to an already-active social community in and around your product, offering or service. Anything outside of that is strategically off base.

Holidays seem to be the times where every brand feels they need to give a shout out. Because everyone appreciates a good “Happy Holidays” from a hotel chain or a clothing company. We all know this comes from a sincere spot in the company’s heart, right?

Even more interesting are the times that a tragedy defines a day. #BostonStrong was a social movement that most everyone remembers. For many it made them, personally, feel better to engage in it by using the hashtag. It made the country smaller. We all cared about that city and wanted Bostonians to know we were behind them and proud of how they acted. How does a brand feel that way? A brand that may have a store or few in the city. A brand that may sell things there. But really? Is that the right time or place for a company that is obviously in social channels for marketing to make a statement? I say no way.

The trend extends into the urge for brands to be relevant in the moment. Twitter is where most of this happens. Community managers cannot fight the urge to dive in on Trending Topics. Many times not knowing what they stand for or who “should” be engaging in conversation.

Case in point is #WhyIStayed. When the spotlight was pointed to the issue of domestic violence many use this as a platform to help themselves and others. To help them have a discussion about what happened to them and why they stayed. The point I am trying to make is not anything about how that played out but the fact that mistakes were made by brands trying to engage. Below is the DiGiorno mistake. The brand manager had no idea what it stood for and dove in. Crazy-bad mistake. But this is a trend.

#WhyIStayed – Digiorno http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/digiorno-whyistayed-you-had-pizza#cgwnf2

So I ask all of you brands to stay in your lane. Talk about what is relevant to you AND your consumer. Stay in the place where you have expertise and can be of use to them. That is not in #BostonStrong or 9/11 or breast cancer. The only caveat is if you are DIRECTLY tied to those causes.

When Does a Brand Have the Right to Post?

Keeping Up With Social Platform Changes

So many times I am asked by coworkers and clients about the best way to keep up on the platforms and their ever-changing ways. The way to do it is through their blog.

Every major platform has a blog and they update it frequently with their updates and improvements. Below are the links. I suggest you add them to your favorites and check them regularly.

You can use these to learn and be the hero when updating clients.

#ProTip: many of them are Tumblr based. Use the +follow to have them show up in your Tumblr feed.

Twitter
Twitter has many. This is the Advertising version.

Vine

Facebook

Instagram

Tumblr

Pinterest

YouTube

Snapchat

LinkedIn

Google

Keeping Up With Social Platform Changes

Posting Content Is Not The Finish Line

Frequently with brands a social post is a tiny finish line. It is an accomplishment and time to move onto the next post on the calendar. I challenge that attitude.

Hopefully, when a brand says something it is the beginning of a conversation. It is the start of dialogue that helps deepen a relationship the brand and consumer have. It is interesting enough that a community member thinks about it. Does it raise a question? Ask for an action? A response? Likely not literally. But it should be intriguing. And when that question is asked you have a community manager ready to engage. Ready to have a conversation from one person to another. This is how you humanize your brand.

Advertisers have hundreds of planned posts per month in social channels. Hundreds of start lines. Hundreds of places to see what the community wants to engage with you on.

Posting Content Is Not The Finish Line

Humans Connect With Humans … Not Logos.

This concept is such and integral part ot a robust social strategy. Social media began with the concept of human connection. 

Many brands still look at social as another medium simialr to the traditional broadcast channels. A one-way message. Another way to bark out their tagline or latest slogan in hopes that consumers all over are just waiting to hear from them. 
 
Of course we are trying to sell something. We all know that. The agency does and the consumer does. Why else would a major brand spend money on something. So stop with the horrible CTA’s that embarrass your brand and insult the consumer. Instead engage in conversation. 
 
Humanizing your brand is a scary thing. Who would your brand be? One person? But we have 5 target segments that we sell to. They range in age from 18 to dead. How can one voice work here? 
 
It can. You will need to begin with what the role of social is in your marketing mix. Is it to win back consumers you have lost for some reason? Is it to change your brand image? There are infinite possibilities but the one you choose needs to define your ROI. 
 
Does your voice need to be a peer to the community or a leader? Does your audience respond better to their friend giving advice or a subject-matter expert? Your research has told you, I’m sure.
 
Once you come to this you will know what attributes this person needs. How often would they respond? Do they drop in an “LOL” or no way. Think of them as a real person. Give them a name. Everyone that touches social needs to understand them. They should ask, “Would Jane say that?” And it should be very obvious when Jane should not say that.  
Humans Connect With Humans … Not Logos.

Life of a Social Media Post

In the world we live in there are countless potentials for social engagements. There are the “big guys” of the social world such as YouTube, Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Then, depending on audience, we have Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and Tumblr. And let’s not forget the “new guys” brands and agencies are ecperimenting with such as Snapchat. All of these posts have a lifespan. And we should account for that in our social strategies to begin with and then in our content calendars when time. 

It’s pretty easy to figure out the lifespan when you stop and think. YouTube, Pinterest and Tumblr have the longest. In some cases these posts may be evergreen. These platforms are made for finding and collecting thoughts. Search and repurposing is easy and the standard.

When content ties to a campaign they may be far more time stamped. Even still, we should have a mix of Posts, Boards and Playlists that are there to be used for a very long time. They should be relevant when posted but may resurface in a few months to get some new attention. That may happen due to a product taking off, or a paid endorser finding a spotlight or because an unpaid influencer comes across it and introduces it to their social circles. This is social gold.

Some ideas we use when thinking about this are larger stories. Overall brand stories. What overall business goals or pillars does all of your marketing work towards? What is core to your sales or image? Incorporate them into the always-on calendar and build a war chest of go-to content. And keep adding to this list. LTO’s come and go and are critical to the bottom line. But overall company goals typically are far more important.

Fleeting thoughts are the norm of social and usually the most glamorous. Use the long-term content to build a base for those channels. Have these assets for community managers to link to when asked questions. And show up in search when the time is right.

Life of a Social Media Post

Storytelling in Social Media

Since the beginning of time stories have been part of human’s lives. I imagine a good hunting story around the fire about how that Giant Mammoth got away was commonplace. Religious beliefs were passed along through stories before being written down. Every time friends and family get together there are stories told.

So why is it most brands have issue when it comes to telling stories in social media? It happens all the time in “traditional media.” Why is it that the series of Facebook posts for a month can be so scattered? Or an under-performing product post is dropped in the calendar? Because it’s easy to say “why not?” if you don’t know what your voice is and what story you are trying to tell.

To be specific, one doesn’t need to tell one story at a time. You can have different things going on and should. We don’t appreciate that aunt that says the same thing every time you see her and we won’t appreciate if a brand does it. Stories do need to be tied into an overall goal of the brand. This is how we define “The Role of Social”. The role of social can be as simple as making the brand cooler. It can be specific to an audience. It can be anything that is tied into ROI set for social.

The easiest way to decide on what stories to tell happens best at a dry-erase board. Start by writing things down that your brand should and can own. Overall thoughts and insights from knowledge of your consumer. Is it that they have an affinity for your brand because it reminds them of their childhood? Or even better, does it remind them of their childhood and their grandparents? Work that. Give them content that can take them to that place for even a minute. A series of these posts over time will put a smile on their face and likely a deeper affinity to your product or service. Build on the story and see where it goes. Are you getting engagement? If so, keep it going. If not, add in another story. We have clients with 5 stories going at one time. We, also, have clients with a couple.

When you have the stories decided the next thing is the story arc. Where are you in the beginning and where do you want to be in a few weeks or a month? Outline it or even write a brief so you can have it in hand and introduce it to anyone that wants to contribute content. In our case that’s a creative person. In another case it could be a product manager down the hall that wants to add in content.

As you launch this story keep an eye on the performance and be critical. If it doesn’t “work” kill it and go another direction. We need to provide content in an already-active social world. Consumers don’t care what we want to tell them. They want something to make their day easier, better or more fun.

In the end, consider your social media as a dinner party. You want to meet the people around you and have small engagements that build over time into a friendship. You don’t want to shake their hand and immediately ask them to buy something. Well, at least you shouldn’t. Tell them a story and make them smile or think about something in a different way.

 

Storytelling in Social Media