How brands are finding their humanity through humble interaction.

Social media is about action

It’s a no-brainer, really, when you think about the way consumers are using social media: to connect.

We share content because it has either entertained us (and we want others to be entertained too), informed us (and we want others to be informed, too), or motivated us to do something.

Even when we don’t share the content we digest, we engage with content because we are curious about the world, people and behaviors around us. We follow content publishers and influencers because we want to see how others live their lives – and whether we aspire to what we see or not, we’ve entered into an unspoken conversation of sorts, and are left feeling more connected to that person or brand.

Branded social media needs to tap into one of these objectives if they want people to pay attention to their content. And while it’s easy to think of examples of all three types of content, how can you create your content in a way that builds equity for your brand?

The answer comes down to understanding what your audience wants (or should want) from you.

Define the role your social presence plays

Look at Nike. Yes, this brand offers its consumers badge pride – but Nike also plays a leadership role. As a brand that believes everyone can be an athlete, Nike sticks to its word and uses its social media community to represent and profile amazing stories of athletes who have pushed the boundaries, redefined acceptance and overcome incredible odds. Even though they’re still selling product at the end of the day, they’ve recognized their opportunity to be a leader in the category by supporting real people from different backgrounds, as a way of living out their brand promise. So, their content inspires with real stories, and motivates consumers to believe in their brand mission.

Or take our client Earth’s Own. Their self-proclaimed mission is to protect our planet through the power of plants. If you take a quick scroll through their content, it becomes very clear that they’re using their social community to live out this mission by educating others who want to live a plant-based life, profiling like-minded content creators, and empowering individuals and organizations through their Plant Project initiative.

Content doesn’t always have to be mission-focused – take a look at meme-based Instagram – but it does always need to ladder back to a purpose driven by your brand strategy and objectives.

When you see brands posting memes, gifs or “lifestyle” content, take a look at their engagement. If they’re doing well, it’s because they’ve earned the right to that conversation with their audience. They’ve established their persona. They’ve clarified who they are and what they offer. They’ve built trust. They’ve created a lifestyle that people want to be associated with.

Refresh your content strategy

If you’re struggling to see that value of your organic content, it may be time for a content strategy refresh. But before you get to creating content, here’s three steps that need to be taken:

  1. Know what you stand for as a brand.
  2. Identify the role that belief enables you to play in the lives of your consumers.
  3. Figure out what role you’re currently playing, and then plan your content in order to get you from where you are today, to where you want to be.

Content will change; that’s just a fact. Not only are there new platforms, new ways of connecting, and new formats to create content in, but your relationship with consumers will change and grow as your brand grows, and as consumer behavior and values shift. That’s the way relationships work – you grow, and learn, and change together.

Staying true to your brand belief, promise and positioning gives you the foundation from which to build a social media strategy that is poised for relationship.