One of the tools in the Sociality Squared toolbox is Sprout Social and we’re a proud agency partner. Sprout allows us to deep dive into our clients’ analytics and listen to their communities, which in turn helps us create compelling content that will resonate with the communities we’re growing and engaging. So it was exciting when they asked me to speak at their 2018 Sprout Agency Partner Summit last month in Chicago.
For this lightning talk, I was asked to talk about a problem and how to solve it. One question we get over and over is, “What do I post?” It seems like such a basic social media question, but it can stump people, especially when there’s an entire calendar to fill out – you have to keep the conversation going 365 days a year. Then you add in all the different platforms and formats to choose among, and it can make your head spin. Do you want still images, moving images, cinemagraphs, or GIFs? Is this platform you wan to publish on going to continue to exist (RIP G+ and soon-to-be Snapchat!)? Do you want square, horizontal, or vertical format visual content? Do you want Stories or Live Video?
Plus, we have a short audition window to capture people’s attention. A Nielsen study done with Facebook found that up to 47% of the value in video campaigns happens in the first 3 seconds…with the sound off. Therefore, you need to be publishing content that is thumb-stopping.
All of this can be overwhelming. We’ve all heard the term “content beast,” but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can be in control of the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it. Then encourage your communities to join in on the storytelling.
How to Bring Your Story Online
So, how do you bring your story alive online? And more importantly, how does it not only reach but how can it be received by your customers and potential customers?
Here are some questions that we ask at Sociality Squared:
- What is the goal that you want to achieve with your story and each content piece? Some content will just be teaser-trailers to the longer form content, some content you want to have drive conversions. Each piece of content has its own stand alone purpose but also support the bigger picture. The sum is greater than the parts.
- We want to know who is your audience? And how do they spend their time online? We all know that people are on mobile and soon moving to voice. Right now, 70% of content is consumed on the go! And we certainly don’t want the content to go into an internet black hole.
- What is the best way to tell your story? Not every story should be video. And we certainly don’t want to take one good piece of content and just replicate it on every platform and channel. We want to work within the culture of the platform and optimize content for how people expect to consume that information. For example, we design for social video for the sound off, and to delight viewers if they turn the sound on.
- Then we ask how can we tell the story in different ways? One story can be brought to life from many perspectives. An integrated and social-first marketing strategy is really great for this type of storytelling (and is a Sociality Squared speciality if you need help with this!).
Muuna Cottage Cheese Content Strategy
Through our work with our client Muuna cottage cheese, you can see how we think about content. The story that we’re helping Muuna tell is one of how people can be healthier through adding more protein that fits into their diets and lifestyles. We’re helping customers discover that they can do this through cottage cheese and in turn realize, this isn’t their grandmother’s cottage cheese. It’s a protein-packed and versatile product that can replace mayo and sour cream. And it’s rich and creamy and has a great taste.
One way we’re doing this is with recipes. Recipes are an entry point into people’s feeds, into their conversations, into their grocery shopping, and into their daily lives.
We have a chef that creates original recipes for Muuna, we shoot social-first photography and video, create teaser content as GIFs for Facebook, Instagram, and the Twitter feeds. We create longer form Buzzfeed-style videos for YouTube and Facebook, and the full recipes live on their website and in their newsletters. The PR team includes them in their pitches, and we also bring in influencers and the community to suggest and make the recipes too – these as Live Videos and as contests. We also deploy the content as ads which perform really well. On Instagram, we reimagine the recipes and turn them into Stories where it feels like you’re tapping through the pages of a recipe book. And on Pinterest, we make long, vertical images with the recipe for rich pins that can easily inspire being pinned and most importantly, inspire action and having the recipes be made. This approach allows us to create compelling recipe content with a 360-degree integrated marketing approach.
Brands as Platforms
While we use Sprout Social and other analytics tools to understand how content is performing, we know that social media is more than numbers and analytics. We always combine intuition with data, and never forget that behind every screen is a real person.
As we think about how people are spending time online and what platforms the brand should be on, we never forget that the brand itself is also a platform. A platform that should be intentional about the content that is being created and published. We can’t all work with Nike and the Colin Kaepernicks of the world, but we can make a positive impact with the content we’re creating, regardless of the size or budget of the client. With Muuna, for example, we keep this in mind starting with who’s on the S2 team and when we’re casting hand models, working with partners and influencers, and crafting the stories we want to tell – down to the copy we’re writing and hashtags we’re publishing.
Trusted Strategic Partner
It was great to share what Sociality Square excels at on stage at the Sprout Agency Partner Summit. We work with our clients as their trusted strategic partner and help craft their stories and then bring them alive online with flawless execution. To be successful we know that the devil is in the details, so each piece of content is optimized for each channel down to what hashtag to use and where. We create stories that inspire, engage, inform, entertain, and make an impact that last far longer than 3 seconds to the communities we’re building.