Integrating branded content into a social strategy

Branded content is all about keeping consumers engaged with what they care about. It’s about relevancy, timing and context. Modern day content strategies must therefore shape themselves around the ubiquity of social media, where all of these elements can co-exist in an established consumer culture.

“Creating content that allows us to share our experiences, thoughts, and ideas in real time is becoming an intrinsic part of life in the twenty-first century.”

That’s a quote from Gary Vaynerchuk’s 2013 book on how to tell your story in a noisy, social world.

This backs up the reasoning for brands to humanise and to develop a personality which resembles their consumers. No one wants to respond to a sales pitch on social media and the likes of facebook have methods in place to restrict the impact of such messages on their platform.

Many facebook page managers reported a significant drop in organic post reach following the change to facebook’s page algorithm at the end of 2013, but from the experience of agencies and managers of multiple brand’s social strategies, there was strong evidence to suggest that not everyone was affected. The only ones that prospered were those that hadn’t already fallen into the trap of trying to over-communicate through these mediums. This is why such messages were becoming more limited and more likely to be seen when supported by paid campaigns.

It ultimately comes down to engagement levels.  If users regularly interacted with a social post, the page is likely to achieve more cut-through. This highlights the importance of putting consumers first and resonating with them on an emotional level.

I’m a strong advocate of the following approach to facebook page management:

Limit facebook page output to a maximum of five posts per week where possible, unless there is a good reason to post more. For instance, the page might be for a particular event. In the build-up to the event, it’s important to keep in touch with consumers by resembling their anticipation for the event. However, when it comes to the event itself, it would be wise to ramp up the frequency. This is what the build-up has been for, so upping the frequency is likely to go hand-in-hand with engagement levels and this the key to managing a facebook page. Anticipate engagement levels and use that to justify levels of post frequency. If there is nothing to communicate regarding the event, then this is where the creative team need to get thinking. Brands need to understand that an ongoing conversation is key. Continuous content requires an editorial mentality and this is where content succeeds in the social media ecosystem.

The focus of any content strategy must be on creating a link between the brand and the consumer. It’s important to remember that whilst being human on social media is imperative, brands are only going to be engaged with when they utilise the resources available to them, whether that’s people, equipment, knowledge or presence. Brands are engaged with because they have this access to resources that consumers desire. When combined, these resources can create something that captures attention and drives engagement because it builds personality and trust – two desirable qualities of human beings.

What doesn’t build personality is recycling other’s content.  The internet doesn’t need any more brands doing the same thing. The value is in being different and using branded content to illustrate that. With this understood, it should become easier for any brand to discover a link between them and their consumers to finally deliver tangible content success.


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