We’re living in the golden age of content. As marketers, we have more tools for creating and sharing content than ever, but truly connecting with customers means marketers need to consider this rather intimidating fact: Creating content for specific platforms is a trap.
Let’s be honest for a second. The world isn’t breathlessly waiting for advertisers to show up in their social feed with a carefully curated Instagram feed or viral video featuring their product. And while it sounds like a good idea to create endless content to fill social feeds, we’re no longer living in the era of organic social or speaking to captive audiences.
So, what’s the secret to building your brand in digital when the entire advertiser model can be flipped on its head depending on how Mark Zuckerberg feels that day?
Prioritize people before platforms.
Make your content and with a people-first approach. Content that will make real-life, flesh and blood human beings feel something. Because while the media platforms, networks and algorithms will continue to change, connecting with people will never go out of style.
Here are three ways to win more hearts, minds and wallets with content:
1. Follow the golden rule.
Treat your potential customers the way you’d want to be treated. Don’t be selfish. No one wants to be in a one-sided conversation, and that includes with brands. So, strive to overlap an ownable brand insight with a relatable human truth to bring your audience into the equation. A great idea based in human truth is inherently shareable, so beyond being a better way to connect, it’s better for your creative ROI as well.
2. Context is king.
The quality of your idea is vitally important, but so is understanding that people use platforms for different purposes. Running the exact same piece of content across all networks doesn’t work. The best way to find effectiveness is to think about how you as a person (not as a marketer) use the platforms where we’re putting content and tailoring your core message for the medium in which it will live.
Facebook is for finding something new from inside your circle.
Instagram is for lifestyle content consumed with a relaxation mindset.
Twitter is a discovery destination for the real world in real-time.
Snapchat is for mindless fun amongst inner-circle friends.
YouTube is for entertainment or how-to.
PS: Don’t forget to take advantage of the unique features of platforms to make your content feel more authentic.
3. Don’t create advertising. Create emotion.
Sometimes that’s a laugh. Or happiness (the most important emotion when creating sharable content.) Or empathy. Or nostalgia. Whatever it is, don’t make boring old advertising.
The brilliant #LikeAGirl campaign from Always clearly hit all the right notes. It challenges stereotypes while being incredibly inspiring and emotionally connective. But I believe the most powerful aspect of this idea is that wasn’t directly about selling product, but about sharing brand and human values. Which is good for business, both in short-term sales and long-term brand health.
But, brands beware. Trying to generate emotion and share values the same way you create ads can go terribly wrong.
While there is more noise, disruption and competition than ever before, the core elements of making effective content are (and will continue to be) pretty simple. Treat others how you’d like to be treated, don’t be selfish, and tell the truth. Good reminders for brands (and people) alike.