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Creating Engaging Social Content

Jamie Allebach
Jamie Allebach Chief Executive & Creative Officer

I wrote an article about 5 years ago about how “Likes” are good, “Comments” are great, but “Sharing” is GOLD! Although social media has radically changed over the past few years, some of this thought process still remains relevant. Yes, engagement has changed, but it’s still key to success.

I look at many food and beverage brands’ social media platforms, some brands are hitting it out of the park, but it never ceases to amaze me how many brands are still missing the mark. And BTW, simply being on and active on social media doesn’t equate to social media success.

Here are some of the key issues that I observe on many food and beverage brands’ social media platforms:

  1. Their content is WAYYYY too over-branded.
  2. Most brands are simply creating branded content (many times from their campaigns), and repurposing the exact content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
  3. It’s very brand-centric. Remember, your brand isn’t the hero of the story—your consumers are!
  4. You’re wasting your time creating content if consumers are not engaging with your brand.

Yes, creating new content is important. Making it relevant and valuable is too. But, developing content that consumers WANT to engage with is really the primary reason for being on social media.

Here are some tips that can get your social content engagement to the next level:

Talent Matters
The days of using your cousins friend, an intern, the parttime admin person, or someone who “knows” Facebook, are long, long, long gone. Social media crucial to your brand’s success. You wouldn’t turn a multi-million-dollar ad campaign over to a novice, why would you do it for social media? You have to invest in talent. Hire the best or work with the best. People who are immersed in social media. They do it day in and day out. Skilled writers and content developers. Not just advertising and marketing people.

Refuse to Reuse
As I stated above, too often, brands simply reuse content that was originally developed for advertising. If you want to succeed in social media, stop doing this. Highly branded content doesn’t work in the social space any more. The new algorithms in Facebook are making content like this less and less relevant. This is NOT a branded ad campaign.

More Video, Please
Rich content drives the most engagement, period. You don’t need to produce $100k videos anymore. Have your team start doing their own videos, even just with an iPhone; recipes, your brand in a natural everyday setting, fun lifestyle videos, etc. Have fun with it.

Everyone Loves a Good Story
Start leveraging story content. Of course, Snapchat pioneered this, but look how stories are taking off on Instagram and Facebook. So, ramp up your story efforts and your consumers will come back for more.

Think Sharable
Whereas what and how people share content has changed in recent years, the reasons “why” they share, remain relatively the same. People share social media for many reasons, but most fit into one of these buckets:

  1. It’s a reflection of who they are or who they aspire to be. They share it because it makes them feel good, important, smarter, or more informed.
  2. Humor. People love to share funny stuff.
  3. They want to give something of value to their circle of influence. Whether it’s new information, helpful or “how to” tips, a chance to win something, or a coupon. They truly want to share something of value with people they care about.
  4. They’ve transcended “friendship” or “fanhood” to become loyal, dedicated, devoted brand enthusiasts. They buy your brand regularly.
  5. They talk about you. They truly love you, and joyfully share your content. Caveat: Please keep in my that although we would like to think that “our” brand has many enthusiasts; the reality is that they’re few in numbers.

Answer the Question, Please
Sometimes you just need to ask the right questions to get people engaged. People will respond, just ask the right questions.

And finally, The Holy Grail of social media engagement…User-generated content. When you have thousands of consumers creating, prompted or unprompted content about your brand…know that you’ve arrived.

Ask yourself some questions when you’re working on your content: What can I provide to my consumers that is of value? How can I give them a good laugh today? Can I provide something new? Maybe some way of utilizing or preparing your product that they’ve never heard of? A creative, helpful, innovative kitchen tip? Are there some cool recipes with your brand, or better yet, develop a series of short videos? There are limitless ideas. You just need to make the time to get creative.

Social content isn’t rocket science, but there is somewhat of a science to it. People engage on social media for many different reasons, and that doesn’t always align with classic marketing goals and strategies.

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