By Rachel Ullstrom / Account Director at Rio SEO
With the recent buzz generated by Twitter darling and awesomely terrible film “Sharknado,” I want to revisit the brand newsroom concept.
Social media is real time; we are sharing in the moment, with others who are likely to see that content when its relevant and fresh. The focus always needs to be not just on getting followers and buzz, but generating long-term engaged fans who will drive lift for you over time. Flash in the pan trending can helpful in generating reach, but may not be successful long term.
Here is an example of Oklahoma Red Cross @redcrossokc hitting it out of the park with Sharknado.
Red Cross Oklahoma reaches thousands with a tweet that is most importantly: On brand, on topic, and funny.
Here is a failure.
This example of problematic culture-jacking was ill-received.
Here are the basics of growing a program that engages in real time with a focus on long-term relationships by using advocate and social audience insights to inform a topical content strategy.
- Know Your Consumer Advocates: How old are they? What is their income? What are they likely to be interested in? Where are they coming from?
- Acknowledge and Thank Those Who are Most Influential: Follow your most engaged fans. Those who are vocal about your brand deserve the validation of a follow or a personal touch. They also can provide helpful insight into the specific interests of your brand influencers.
- Understand Where Your Audience is Sharing: Are they on Reddit, Pinterest, personal blogs, and/or forums? Understand where you are being talked about to tailor content to engage those audiences to share further. Reach out to site owners where you can.
- Make Smarter Content Choices: Understand what content you create today garners lift through consumer sharing. Take note of what is being shared and create ‘smarter content’ around those topical areas and content types.
- Stay Current: Know what’s going on, most specifically, within the interests of your influencers and social audience.
- Be Authentic: Just because something is trending, does not make it relevant. Use your understanding of your audience to identify their interests and understand what topics are adjacent to your brand and industry. For example, if you represent a sport’s brand, the birth of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s (Kimye for those in the know) baby is likely not as interesting to your audience as the Stanley Cup finals.
- Understand Every Event You Talk About: Be part of the dialogue if you belong there. “Culture jacking” something that is deeply personal or sensitive can backfire. Be personal, but don’t be presumptuous. Always be polite.
Use data to understand and serve topical content that is personally relevant to your audience and, therefore, also to those who are likely to be interested in you. Of course, current events should be part of your overall strategy, but should not be seen in a vacuum. You do want to be accessible and current, but going too broad or inserting yourself where you don’t belong can actually dilute interest.
Make sure to engage where your audience does. Use all the social platforms your audience uses. Seek out blogs, resource sites, and forums your fans are using. If your advocates are sharing a lot of tutorials, consider creating “how-to” videos to reach and engage them further, as well as to reach more prospects and advocates like them.
Reach out to sites and advocates who seed your content with new posts, contests, and features. Offer them a chance to create content for you to drive reach and ease the burden on your own team. In fact, our Rio SEO Social data shows user-generated content is shared 10 times more frequently than our benchmark.
By engaging your advocates and social audience with relevant and targeted content in real-time, you can build long-term relationships. Don’t be afraid to have fun, but don’t get hung up on what everyone else is talking about. Being topical should never supersede being relevant to those who matter.
The whole world is not your consumer, no matter how much we wish that were true. Make sure you are always being relevant to your products, services, advocates, employees and consumers. Take a page from @redcrossokc. Have fun, but only when it fits.