If you hashtag, filter, comment and like on a daily basis, I can safely bet that you don’t want to read another article about how to use social media. It’s 2016, anyway. Next thing you know, researchers will start saying social media is a motor skill for toddlers.
But there are times when–in the midst of our social media routines–engagement slows and we find ourselves struggling to get out of a merry-go-round of boring content. How do you, a brand manager, push past this? How can you re-energize a brand and produce great content when you’ve dotted every “i” and crossed every “t”? Most importantly, how can your brand be different in a sea of sameness?
If and when you reach this point, try not to throw in the towel and disparage everything you’ve worked hard to build. Slow periods of growth are a normal part of managing social media in the digital age. Approach your branding with a different angle.
Here are five ways how:
- Remind yourself of the brand objectives. As brand managers, we live and breathe our brand, but do our customers or members? It’s important to go back to this question and talk through brand objectives to make sure your customer can identify with the content you produce. Ask yourself: Why does my brand matter? (And who does it matter to?) It may seem like a frivolous task, but we all need refreshers, and making an effort to do this can go a long way. Then, as you plan content, relate everything back to your brand objectives.
- Gather your inspiration list. If you haven’t identified brands you admire (this doesn’t only mean competitors), then you’re ten steps behind. You should be observing your list on a weekly basis and asking yourself how you can apply their approach to your own content. Think of it as your digital inspiration board. You’re not copying content; instead you’re keeping up with what’s trending and figuring out how you can tap into it in a different way. Also, if you need help staying in the know with more than just the social world, read these tips.
- Reach out to your brand community. Social media content does not only have to be original content (e.g. quotes, articles, etc). That’s why we call it “social” media. Reach out to people you admire, supporters, partners, followers, etc (re: #2 on this list). Tweet at them, tag them in a Facebook status, comment on an Instagram. The key to engagement and a successful social platform is to give as much as you receive. People want to follow brands that go the extra mile to reach out.
- Scale back your posts and spend time delivering content that matters. This one might seem contrary to a good social strategy. Too often, we push out content for the sake of getting our name out there. While there are certain instances where this is okay, don’t just post to post. If you need to tweet once a day or post to Facebook less, do it. Figure out what works and then slowly add more content once you get the hang of it.
- When in doubt, make people laugh. There‘s only so much media a person can absorb before they want to disengage. In a world where news headlines are heavy, be a light to your community and make people laugh. Even if you think your brand does not have this capacity, it does. Post a funny GIF, knock-knock joke or Buzzfeed article. If you‘re in a niche market, post an inside joke that only your community gets. Be quirky, be real and be tactful.
Every brand will have its ups and downs. What’s important is that you figure out your game plan when things get slow, your boss isn’t loving what you produce or you have a gut feeling that something’s amiss.
My final advice? Hire experts who can help you navigate and grow your brand to its full potential (e.g. social media/marketing firm). It is an investment that will return tenfold because not only do agencies know social media trends, but they are on the cusp of all that’s happening in the world. Their goal is to help brands stay fresh and innovative. You win, they win.
Of course, you might have your own ways of overcoming a social media rut. If you think we should know about it, we’d love to hear it. Tweet at us (@AssocMarketer + @daviesanddixon)!