Social media lessons to learn from online magazines

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Running a brand’s social media is a difficult task. There’s the planning, the preparation, the posting and then… there’s the people. It can be a thankless task; all the effort you go to for only a handful of shares can be a devastating blow to your social confidence.

But social media gives you lots of chances; there’s an enormous audience out there and, with some experimentation, you can find your followers’ rhythm.

Many brands go for the obvious activity – tell and sell. ‘Here’s our latest offering’, ‘here it is in a Halloween costume’, ‘here’s why we love it on a Friday’ etc. That’s OK every now and then – however it’s pretty dull if it’s all you talk about.

The rise of online magazines such as Unboredable, Buzzfeed and Elite magazine demonstrate that content can be almost anything – from the sublime to the ridiculous. This is great news for social media managers as it opens up the world of content and provides lots of templates that can be used to make your thread a more interesting place to be.

It’s amazing what lights the social fire. From the smallest, silliest little poll such as ‘who would you rather sleep with? Ant or Dec?’ you can achieve national, even global coverage across scores of online publications (see our Sweet’N Low case study).

So here’s a quick tip list to help you to plan more interesting, more engaging social content:

1. Don’t just talk about yourself. There’s a whole world around what you do; think about who your audience is and what interests they are likely to have. Talk about their lives and how your brand fits into them.

2. Be useful. If you’re useful you get remembered – you’re the go to guy and that means return visits. Useful isn’t just tips or advice. It can be a source of humour, breaking news…or the font of all useless knowledge.

3. Be shareable. This follows on from being useful – shareable content is currency in the social market.  If you can provide the interesting stuff that makes others’ feeds a more exciting place, you’ll get the shares, exposure and awareness. Others will come to you to get ahead of the curve and soon you’ll be talking with more people.

4. Talk with, not to. A conversation is NOT a one-way street. You can also go further than asking and answering. Conversations can be silly; they can betotally unrelated to your brand. The goal is to engage, to create a good impression and communicate your brand’s personality so your audience wants it as part of their lives.

5. Just to re-iterate – content CAN be unrelated. Trying to stay on topic is very restrictive. Always looking for how to tie in the sell comes across in your intonation and it’s quite off-putting. Don’t be afraid to let the conversation flow, start new conversations, go off topic. Social media isn’t always going to trigger immediate action. You can’t expect to post and see an immediate increase in sales. Slow down and enjoy – you’ll become a more interesting place to be.

6. Be presentable. Don’t just stick to words; invest some time into presenting yourself as you would at a real life social event. Social media is visually engaging – videos, memes, infographics and graphics are the currency we trade in. If you look in the comment threads, they are often used in place of words to convey opinion or humour.

7. Don’t be afraid of complaints. You can pretty much guarantee that people are talking about your brand online. You are better being in the conversation than burying your head in the sand or, worse still, staying silent. Being in the conversation can turn a negative into a positive – you can turn a complainer into an ambassador just by being accessible.

So if you’re looking for inspiration, get yourself a coffee and have a look online – it’s all out there and online magazines are making a good living out of creating content.

 

Ben

Ben