Social media can be a great channel to reach broader audiences and build brand awareness, but does your creative and marketing team have the best plan for social?
Social media marketing is one of the most exciting and challenging channels for modern marketing teams. It can be a great way to reach broader audiences than direct channels alone, and with the use of hashtags and tagging you can join larger, ongoing conversations or ally yourself with influencers in your target market. Unfortunately, many marketing teams fail to recognize the unique approach that social requires to be effective.
Social Content vs Traditional Ad Copy
In my career as an advertising copywriter, I’ve always written copy with the goal of stopping someone in their tracks and grabbing their attention, to stand out from all the clutter that’s out there. So, when I began writing content for digital media, I initially approached it in the exact same way. Unfortunately, social works a bit differently.
The key difference between traditional advertising copy and social media content is that when you are writing for social, it’s all about shareability. You need your content to cause an immediate reaction with your audience. It’s not enough to simply get their attention. Your goal is to get them to share with as many of their friends as possible, which means you need to get their attention and inspire them to take the additional action of sharing with their network, hopefully while adding their own positive endorsement.
Another differentiating factor is tone. Social is more about telling stories and less about selling. The more you sell, the less your brand will be perceived as authentic or valuable to the target audience, and you’ll have lower levels of engagement. This means that understanding your audience is more important than ever, not because you need a profile to sell to, but because you need to make content that will resonate with that audience.
Social media platforms also require their own channel-specific content. Treating social as a secondary priority where you can simply re-purpose existing content will not cut it. For example, don’t make the mistake of using the exact same TV spot for pre-roll and just adding a call to action. Likewise, simply taking the audio from a pre-roll spot and serving it up in a Pandora ad will not be effective. The message needs to be adapted for the specific channel.
Social Process vs Traditional Process
When it comes to creating content for social, it’s not just a matter of customizing what you produce, but also how you produce it. The workflow for your creative production needs to be customized for social.
1. Start with the Creative Brief. Make sure the brief outlines where the content will be running and includes as much detail about the audience as possible. Each social media platform has its own specs for file types, sizes, and rules about what content is allowed. In many cases, even within a single platform, you may need the same content, such as an image, in a few different sizes. Get all the specs upfront on the brief so the designer has everything they need for the full project.
2. Next, try using a more agile workflow for digital to save time. Run different aspects of the project parallel to minimize waiting around for someone else to finish their work. For example, don’t make art wait for copy. Start designing the artwork right away, with placeholders for copy. If other teams are involved, like UX or legal, bring them in early to accommodate their specific concerns in the original plan. Lastly, share iterations of your creative with your stakeholders early and often, so the project doesn’t get derailed in the approval cycle. The key to working efficiently to produce creative for social is to minimize “going back to fix” things that could have been included upfront.
Tips On Going Social
As we’ve discussed, each social media platform has unique content needs. Some of these are easy specs, like image size requirements, but some are more subtle. Most mistakes that occur in social advertising are the result of a lack of understanding the social media platform itself. By understanding some of the unique characteristics and quirks of each social media platform, designers and marketers can build content best suited to each platform.
I ran across these tips in an article by Tone Creative, and found it very helpful, so I’m sharing. Hey, I guess that means it did its job well!
- Twitter: As one of the most popular platforms, Twitter mistakes are pretty common. One important tip is to know the difference between a “reply” and a “mention.” A reply is a fairly private message, visible only to you, the recipient, and your mutual followers. Replies are formed by beginning a tweet with the person or company’s username (shown by @xyz) followed by a message. A mention is public for all Twitter users to see and is formed by placing the person or company’s username after the punctuation of the message. If you confuse these two, your public message could be sent privately, muffling your online voice, or your private message could be sent publicly, the online equivalent of raising your voice to speak in a loud room, only for all to fall silent right as you begin speaking.
- Pinterest: This one will be easy for the SEOs on your team! Pinterest has a powerful search feature for users to discover new boards, so when you establish an account and create a board, include a relevant title and description. By including popular keywords, you can boost your placement in search results and get more views and followers. Pinterest has 1,090 new viewers per minute, so this underutilized social media platform could boost your brand awareness and client base.
- Google+: Google+ allows their users to segment followers into social “circles” based on demographic or other types of information. This allows companies to share more targeted messages to their followers.
- Facebook: When posting to Facebook, use images. Updates with images get a 40% higher engagement rate. Attract more views with visual data.
- LinkedIn: Similarly to Facebook, LinkedIn users respond positively to visual information. On your company page, include a banner image. Adding a banner image makes your page appear more aesthetically pleasing and will help grab users’ attention.
- Instagram: Although hashtags are helpful to your post by promoting them to the category pages, overuse of hashtagswill make your image look unprofessional. If viewers interpret your post as spam, they will be less likely to follow your account, let alone “like” your picture.
By taking some time to review your team’s social media strategy and process you will likely find some easy wins to accelerate your social media presence and reach.
To learn more about how you can improve your team’s creative workflow process, schedule a demo with one of our workflow experts.
About the author: Debbie Kennedy is former Head of Advertising Operations with CarMax, and is currently Creative Director for Capstone Production Group, and CEO of Write for You, a Digital Content and Creative Workflow Consulting Firm based in Durham, North Carolina. She’s been a power user and advocate of inMotionNow since 2014.