As Social Media as a platform reaches maturity, it is increasingly harder for brands to gain visibility. Old methodologies used by incredibly successful companies before are no longer effective today.
As of early 2018 Facebook made a bold move to drastically reduce the visibility of brands’ posts in favor of their users. Despite knowing this as old news, brands still find it difficult to adopt a new style of content marketing that actually works.
Perhaps it is the resistance to change that is holding them back. Or maybe they know something has to be done, but don’t actually know what.
Why is Facebook Making This Change?
The people at Facebook did not wake up one day and decided to change the way their algorithm works. Rather they have been observing the mass of low-quality content in their platforms that received hardly any engagement.
The rise of zombie-scrolling among users caused a panic with the company, which led to this daring but necessary move.
So far only Facebook is taking the lead in this form of content attention. But if this experiment leads to positive feedback among users, I am very sure other social platforms will also follow suit.
Social Media aren’t Advertisement Boards
People generally do not like to see ads, chiefly because they are self serving. Millennial, which are the biggest generations of spenders, do not trust advertisements.
This doesn’t mean they don’t buy products, rather their influencers are different. Instead of buying into the appeals projected by ads, they rely more on peer reviews, testimonials and the brand’s values.
The Fundamental Questions
In order to get your brand into the minds of consumers today, you need to create compelling content that tell stories. And these stories need to connect with them on a personal level.
Contrary to all the complicated formulas to creating good social content, the fundamentals are more common sense than we thought. Here are a few questions to ask:
Why: The Purpose
Before getting into the type of content and brainstorming ideas, we have to first identify the purpose behind your content strategy.
What are you trying to achieve? How will your story bring your brand to life?
While it’s a good idea to source ideas from other brands, we have to always reflect on our why to know if the strategies align with our purpose and goals.
Just because Red Bull spends a tonne of money on successful content that never once showcase their product doesn’t mean it will work for you.
What: The Ideas
By establishing the Why, you will be able to clearly answer What kind of content you want to create for your audience.
REI’s strive to educate people on the outdoors led them to create How To content on various outdoor sports and hobbies. This ultimately made them subject matter experts at their industries, which creates an impression that the products they sell are good.
This section can be broken down into two parts: the Focus and the Format. The Focus identifies “What you want to talk about”, while the Format asks “How do you intend to bring it to life.”
For example, REI can talk about rock climbing (the Focus) in many ways, ranging from How To videos to Interview with expert (Formats).
Who: Your Audience
It is important to know who your audience is in order to craft a story that reaches well to them. The same weekend excursion is told differently to your friends, colleagues and grandparents. For the same reason, it is senseless to expect one storytelling format to reach everyone.
In order to do this well, we have to first know who our audiences are. This can be done in many ways, including split testing ads and the old fashion Q&A. But the last thing any brand should do is assume they know who their audiences are, because chances are high that they are wrong.
How: Content Formats
After knowing your audience, you can then craft a story that connects with them. Malay ethnic crowds do not engage with the same content as Indian ethnics. This is because the mass media they consume is different, and they relate to different pop cultures.
Even Chinese-educated Chinese ethnics do not engage with the same content as English-educated Chinese ethnics.
If you are still unsure of how to format your content, consider researching successful competitors or other brands that target similar audiences. Study their content and try to replicate their jargons and approaches.
Simple But Not Easy
Looking at the fundamental questions above, one can deduce that it’s simple common sense. But this doesn’t mean it is easy. The research and information gathering requires a lot of hypotheses testing and trial and error.
But once the clarity is achieved, you will be able to create
content that create brand loyalty among the hardest to persuade crowds.
 “Red Bull Marketing Strategy: What You Need to Know – CoSchedule.” 28 Nov. 2017, https://coschedule.com/blog/red-bull-marketing-strategy/. Accessed 6 Jul. 2019.