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The Age of Strong Content and Weak Brands

I love social media for multiple reasons—its ability to connect people, the pace of change it promotes, and the accessibility for marketers to reach their demographics. And recently, I got into an interesting conversation about brands on social media, which got me thinking. A lot.

The premise of the conversation was based on a quote by Gary Vaynerchuk that states, “Marketing ruins everything.” Of course, he was referring to marketing teams’ abilities to find fresh platforms where untapped audiences gather and tastelessly selling unwanted products.

So, I started to wonder… How can brands execute on social media in a way that allows them to create great content on every platform? How can marketers create content that their consumers actually like?

First, I wanted to look at what makes people great social media users. I have several social platforms that I use to express myself and connect with friends. On every platform, I have a personal brand, whether I’m trying or not. Often, I create great content (in my opinion) that people enjoy consuming with little effort on my part. And, as I join more platforms, my use adapts to that culture and community. For example, my activity on Instagram is vastly different from my activity on LinkedIn, but the content I publish on both is relevant to the culture of the platform. Makes sense, right?

This model is common with influencers on every platform—including traditional media like television and radio. Individuals create relevant content, and they grow their personal brand. It’s easy for influencers to remain authentic since they are real and tangible.

So, why can’t brands create great content? Realistically, some brands do create content in this way, but too many are afraid to have a personality because they want to be everything to everyone.

Most social media marketing goes like this: brand makes content, customer ignores brand, brand pays for customer’s impression. What’s even more frustrating than that scenario is that marketers in that situation can’t see why they aren’t hitting their objective numbers.

Here are some tips on how to be a brand AND create great content.

Start by personifying your brand. If your brand was a person, who would they be? What shows would they watch? Would our customers like to hang out with them on the weekend? This becomes helpful when you’re trying to identify which platforms to join and what content to produce on those platforms. The amazing thing about personifying is you frame your content strategy around adding value to the community’s conversation instead of strictly looking at a hard sale.

Then, move into articulating what your brand is passionate about. If your brand was a person, what causes would get them excited? What drives them. This element is great because you look internally to find what values the company truly stands for. You find the pillars that will hold your content strategy afloat.

Lastly, explore content mapping. Much like everyday people plan vacations, holidays, and landmark moments, plan your landmarks. What are the days that mean the most to you? What are the active conversations you want to be engaged in? When do they take place? Be sure to be native to the platform that you are using. If something takes place on Instagram, don’t try and repackage it on Google +, for example.

For my brands, this frames our behavior in a way that positions us to take the first step to becoming an influencer. Of course, we will still develop goals and platform strategies. With our strategy, we will be sure to create content that fits the community of the platform, and when integrated with old strategies, we can have a comprehensive plan that optimizes our efforts on every level.

It’s all about adding value for your customer.