All aboard the social train!
Over the last 10 years businesses have largely accepted that social media is here to stay. The majority have even incorporated it into their daily activity, if only out of fear of being left behind by the competition.

Needless to say, fear of missing out is not a good reason and usually leads to half hearted social accounts pumping out bland and self promotional content to an audience that isn’t listening.

There are exceptions, however; those few businesses that are active on social media because they understand that’s where their audience is, the kind of branded content that will engage that audience, and perhaps most importantly of all, how exactly success will be measured.

In short, they have a clear digital brand strategy, and recognise that social media is just one set of channels through which this brand strategy will be distributed.

Marketing is not an output solution
Too often marketers concentrate on individual channels. Digital marketers are particularly guilty of this. We like to carve things up into specialist areas – SEO, email, Facebook, SMS, instagram, blogging, etc… Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely a need to have specialists within your team who understand the more technical elements of each platform, but it must all ultimately flow from one thing – your brand.

  • Consistency – building a brand demands absolute consistency in message, image and tone. If your social media content is not tied together by your brand then you will not build a meaningful relationship with your audience. No matter how many likes, shares or followers you achieve, your relationship will be entirely temporary and superficial.
  • Efficiency – creating your content each month with no central brand theme is an exhausting and impossibly difficult way to operate that demands the generation of an endless stream of fresh and inspirational ideas. On the other hand, if you have one central brand strategy it provides a direction and framework for every piece of content you create. Furthermore, these pieces of content can then be distributed across all channels (perhaps with some minor tweaking) and you can even reuse the content again months later as you know it will have maintained relevance.
  • Be heard – your brand exists, among other reasons, to ensure you can cut through the noise. It should pull out the one thing that is true to your business that connects you to your audience in a way that no other brand can match. This is essential if your content is to cut through the endless sea of competing brands busy tweeting, blogging and sharing.
  • Build a real asset – your social media activity should be building something of value. Something that in time your brand will become famous for. That may be a community, it could be thought leadership, it could be funny user generated content. Whatever it is, it will only come about if there is a consistent and long term focus on that thing, and that will only be the case if it is a clear overarching strategy for your brand.

Without a clear brand strategy you will work harder for less impact, less consistency and less value. Once it is in place, however, your content will efficiently and consistently deliver on your goals and your channel activity, including social media, will all but take care of itself.

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