Social First Content Strategy: Start with Social, End with Success

Social First Content Strategy: Start with Social, End with Success

One look at recent crises and it's easy to see that all brand communications, whether that is verbal or online, needs to consider the social media ramifications. How much money and time will PR teams save if they first thought about how social would view campaigns before acting? If a brand begins with a social first content strategy, (including social listening) they're ahead of the game.
Karen Uyenco
May 10, 2017

Marketing campaigns inspire stretch goals. Whether the primary focus is increasing awareness, generating leads, engagement, or all of the above, your overall strategy has to achieve goals and tune out static. Long gone are the Mad Men days of one-way marketing that trusted brands to tell people how to think and what to buy. That’s why formulating a social first content strategy is a modern imperative.

Why a Social First Content Strategy?

With the age of social, capturing the eyes and ears, hearts and minds of an audience is crucial if you’re ever going to hit the bullseye. Few of us are working with Super Bowl Sunday budgets, but we all want the super-hero results. To hit your targets with the resources you’ve got means maximizing reach by creating content that elicits the desired response with an accompanying action.

In this day and age, it’s no longer about building a campaign out from one print ad, billboard, or TV spot. The best way to approach the ideation and brainstorm phase of your plan is to build content with a “social first” strategy. This, at its heart, means taking into account the social elements of your campaign and how social media might react to your content. 

What Does Social First Get Me?

Taking the “you-would-already-be-home-if-you-lived-here” approach still works, but social media means you skip going door to door and avoid the high cost of out-of-home and TV. Especially when companies are focusing more on digital campaigns. In February 2016, 40% of marketers said they were shifting TV budgets to digital, up from 37% in September 2015.

From Best Guess to Best Practice

The best part about social first media is the breadth of metrics and targeting.

Early social goals were about how many followers your company page had, but technology has evolved to allow additional data that defines the who, what, when, and how of your audience to help meet your goals. Social provides the ultimate trifecta: mobile media, hyper-targeting, and precise metrics. Armed with this info, you don’t have to guess if a campaign will resonate with stay-at-home moms or millennials on OOH or TV. 

Moving With Your Targets

Mobile marketing means the water cooler has gone digital and grown legs. Technology has evolved allowing brand message delivery into the palm of targeted hands.

Most audiences are sharing wherever they go. Content discovered by way of devices drives conversations from home, to work, and back again. These cross demographic habits allow brands the opportunity to travel with their audience to create nimble content for social media platforms.

Regardless of the platform, all roads lead to revenue. The ROI dream team is based on lower production cost, wide distribution, and transactional ease. Content doesn’t guarantee immediate cash flow, but, guiding an audience down a path to conversion by way of engaging on social media has grown from the hope to the expectation. In fact, the best brands are known for their social content, above and beyond any other channel.

Savvy brands are evolving away from the belief that they manage customers, as they realize that customers, in fact, are managing relationships by way of social engagement. Social first content is an effective strategy to control the narrative, as well as build the support of brand loyalists.

In an age of social media capturing every breath we take, don’t you want a following to count on?  

Tips for Building Social First Content:

  • Choose social channels that your audience engages on. If you’re targeting a younger audience, go to Musically or Snapchat since their audience skews younger. If you’re looking for a middle-aged demographic, consider going to Facebook.
  • Create content that makes sense on that channel. For example, use beautifully styled lifestyle photos and video for Instagram. Think format and audience.
  • Build a responsive website/landing page that supports and matches digital sources of traffic and content. If someone clicks on the CTA from your Facebook sponsored content, the page they land on should reinforce the messaging seen on your Facebook page, optimized for the device they are on, with a seamless user experience.
  • Curate original audience content from your audience. Social audiences love when brands respond and most importantly share their user-generated content. But don’t forget to get their permission and give credit. 
  • Before sending out a press release, producing a TV spot, holding a press conference, or training customer service reps, consider how social media will perceive your campaign, your actions, and your communications. When you’re in the middle of a PR crisis, be prepared for the reaction on social media.

Be part of the conversation with social management and listening tools like Meltwater. Current news and trends will trump any marketing convo you want people to jump into. So be where your consumers are and talk about what they want to talk about.