Many businesses think that once they have got a new logo and a nice website, they've built a successful brand, but this is only the start.
It's also about instilling strong values & beliefs, creating a personality that resonates with your audience and letting people know why you are passionate about what you do.
The best way to do this is through your social media content, but when it comes to creating content that people care about too many brands drop the ball and create dull, uninspiring content that ends up doing more harm than good.
This is an area of Brand Building that I particularly enjoy as I've worked in many advertising agencies initially as an Art Director before then becoming a Creative Director, to create compelling content across all media including TV, radio, online and in person through ambient and events.
I understand how difficult this can be - the planning, creation and posting all takes a huge amount of time. So I wanted to help by writing an easy to follow guide to start creating brilliant content by sticking to a few simple but effective principles - the 4 C's of Content Creation: Create | Curate | Collaborate | Communicate.
To do this, I jumped on a call to chat with Social Media guru Raj Kotecha. A longtime friend, Raj works all over the world with his expertise being sought out by many national and international clients.
It was his idea to distill these principles down to Create, Curate and Collaborate before I added Communicate. With the recent algorithm changes to Instagram and Facebook, having an active flow of conversation between your brand and your customers is the lifeblood of staying relevant and more importantly, making sure your Brand shows up in their feeds.
I hope that the combination of my advertising agency background and his social media expertise will provide you with a valuable guide to refer to, but as always if you have any questions please let me know.
By this, I mean content that you create yourself. Anything that has to do with what you do or what you offer that is related to your business, such as the features and benefits of you products or services.
Your features are usually more technical, whereas your benefits are about the effect that your service or product has on the well-being of your customers. Think about it from emotional, physical, spiritual and the financial points of view.
You can also go deeper, and and position your Brand as the solution to any alleviating the tensions your customers might be having. This style of communication feels a lot more like an advertising strategy, so if you are a hotel or luxury holiday property, you would talk about the importance of creating childhood memories that last a lifetime (Disney) or being far more refreshed than on a regular holiday (Work to live vs. Live to Work).
Use all types of storytelling and social proof to reinforce the message. Include customer stories and testimonials explaining the before and after difference that comes from experiencing your Brand.
Create amazing customer experiences that will encourage word-of-mouth referrals on social media, just like Joshie the Giraffe. Give your customers stories to take home that they tell their friends and family.
Start gathering content made by other people and putting it together around a theme. The main consideration is to think about what do potential customers want to see or read about. Begin curating content that people will enjoy consuming that is shareable. Examples include listicles and articles based around a common thread or idea.
Sticking with the Hotel / Luxury Holiday Accommodation theme, topics might include the Top 10 hidden beaches, five up-and-coming chefs to look out for. Other subjects to consider could include food, drink, fish, ice cream, galleries, sea views, local ales and wines.
If you are intimidated by this prospect, commission a local journalist to write 5-10 evergreen articles for you. Always make sure that at least a third of the people featured in these articles/listicles are of a similar level of quality or are of interest to your customers.
The whole point of teaming up with others is to help increase exposure of what you’re doing, but also to share the load of creating original content. The other advantage of using this approach is that you can use the content of sought-after brands that your audience love, to position your brand as something of a similar quality.
This brand alignment strategy gives you the opportunity to be exposed to more audiences who might find what you’re offering appealing. It’s also an excuse to build relationships and increase awareness of what you do among the right sort of the people.
Choose a business and tell their story as if you were promoting them on their own social media network. Sell them to, in turn, sell yourself. Pick something unique about them that will appeal to your audience and then tie it to a promotion.
A luxury holiday accommodation Brand could interview a local chef who's reputation is on the rise, and then offer a free meal at his restaurant if they book with you today. Alternatively, he could do some private dining for the evening and you can film the whole thing from one of their most stunning apartments.
The content schedule for the week could look like this:
- Sunday - Private dining highlights with Owner and Chef Ben.
- Monday - Give away Ben's recipe for whatever dish he cooked the previous night.
- Tuesday - Interview with Ben the chef.
- Wednesday - Ben's favourite local businesses.
- Thursday - The origin story behind Ben's restaurant.
- Friday - Book today and receive a complimentary meal for two at Ben's restaurant.
Think like a media company and film everything. The more content your amass, the more powerful you are as you can reuse new edits at different times to run some similar promotions. Once you've done the hard working of filming it, you simply rinse and repeat when appropriate.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this presentation, to stay in everyone’s feed, they need to be consuming and more importantly interacting with your content (according to Instagram, the average user checks their account up to 30+ times a day) and as Instagram will keep showing them whatever they interact with as it assumes that you like these people.
So, in all of your content make sure you include some interactive elements such as: asking a question, double tapping for likes, asking people to tag their friends in your posts.
For example, you could offer a competition to win a prize for two. All they have to do to enter is tag a friend, and if they or their friend gets picked, they both win. If they tag twenty friends, they will increase my chances of winning by twenty, but they have also made twenty more people aware of your Brand because of the nature of entry rules of the promotion.
All of this is crucial to making sure that you stay relevant to as many people as possible. Once they find you, hopefully, they will find your content so compelling that they want to keep following you.
If you can maintain the standards, over time, your awareness will grow as will your audience. The whole point of this is that with a big audience, you can start to syphon off individual emails to build lists that you can actively market to.
To Sum Up
Creating valuable content is one of the most effective ways to bring your brand to life so it resonates with your audience. It's not a case of thinking about maybe doing it, everyday you don't, you are losing ground to your rivals.
The good news is that they are probably doing a terrible job and just adding to the noise. I wrote this article because want to help you shout above the noise with your content so that you stand out from your competition. But this all starts by creating valuable videos, photos and articles that are created with the interests of your audience in mind and not your own.
It takes discipline and effort to not become repetitive and predictable, so if you're unsure, stick to what Raj and I said and remember the 4 C's of Content Creation: Create, Curate, Collaborate and Communicate.