Social media a key element of your online marketing and advertising strategy, and as the digital world only continues to grow, it's a vital element to help boost your overall brand awareness and ecommerce operations. But...have you ever run a social media campaign? If you have, I'm sure you and I are on the same page when I say that the hardest part is coming up with new ideas (and also getting your extended family away from the comments section).
But why are new ideas so important? Why can't you just recycle the same content over and over again? Here's an example.
When I was a student, I remember dreading Maths. Not only because I couldn't do long division and angles made me anxious, but because my teacher made the same terrible joke at the start of every lesson "This is easy as pi" ...*eye twitch* - which sounds funny right? And it was for the first 4 or 5 times, but it soon lost its charm when each lesson commenced with the now antique joke followed by a painfully awkward silence. The joke less than make us laugh, it turned Maths from what was already quite boring, into an endless state of déjà vu and a pathetic preppy school version of 'groundhog day'.
This, my friends, is what you're doing to your poor audience if you recycle the same content over and over again. While it might not cause the same calculator-clad cringe as it did me, you'll sure as hell lose the interest and attention of your viewers; which is hardly what you want when you're trying to market your business to build recognition, drive traffic and increase sales.
As well as an inspo list of algebra puns for my old Maths teacher, I've put together an equally helpful list down below - chock-full of content ideas to keep your audience on their toes and make every interaction they have with you feel new and exciting!
1. Create a series
No one is expecting the drama of Downtown Abbey or the production value of Game of Thrones. Just keep it simple, and keep it up. Creating a weekly or monthly series works wonders to make your social feed feel less like a laundry list and help to build excitement and anticipation around your content. Tap into your audiences' pain points and concerns and serve them up the regular content you know they'll get value from.
For example, here at Neighbourhood, we conduct three types of monthly content, including a webinar answering a question we're hearing a lot of our clients asking, an agency update which gives our followers a peek at the strategies we've been using that month to see wins, and a Hubspot update, which gives followers an run-down of the latest features on the platform.
2. Conduct a channel takeover
Sometimes you've got to take a step back and let someone else take over to spark some content diversity.
This means putting the reigns of your social accounts in someone else's hands, for a day / week. A great way to do this is to hand your deets to a social media celebrity / influencer with an established presence who can get your brand in front of some new faces. Alternatively, you can let someone else in your company take over your account to spice up your feed and see a bit of a behind the scenes at your company.
A great example of this comes from one of my favourite brands, InkBox, who run a 'Meet the Artist' segment on their Instagram account, which takes you behind the scenes of a Tattoo Artists' day-to-day, detailing how they get inspired, where they create their art, what the process looks like and the finished product. While I'm not nearly cool enough for a tattoo (told you, Mum) - it's interesting and fun to see how they are created!
3. Include bite-sized video clips
In the same way a teaser trailer gets you excited for the movie, bite-sized videos acting as CTA's for your full-length videos are a few seconds-long nugget of entertainment that'll flesh out your feed and increase visits to your site like nobody's business! Don't worry about filming a full-blown commercial - try taking a cut-out from your original video to give a taste for what viewers might expect and make it as creative and entertaining as possible! Check out how our friend Craig from True Pride does it - keeping the audience hella' engaged throughout and prompting a practically inevitable action at the end, love ya work!
4. Repurpose your content (*cough*)
Hypocrite alert! Let me start by saying that repurposing is different to recycling. Recycling means repeating the same content over and over again a la my old Maths teachers' pi joke. Repurposing means using that content and promoting it in a different manner (please).
Think about the planning, effort and time it takes to create any piece of content. Doesn’t it make sense to squeeze as much as you can out every blog post or video you make? It sure does.
So for every blog post you write or video you shoot, you should consider transforming them into another form. For example, turn statistic-heavy blogs into infographics to make the data more engaging or create a transcript of your webinar for those who would prefer to read, the world's your oyster.
Here at Neighbourhood, our favourite way to give content new life is to transform our blogs into videos. No need to write new scripts - it's already right there! Not only does doing this give readers a choice of either reading or watching - videos are also great for SEO!
5. Post How-to's / Tutorials
Blogs aren't your only option for educating your audience. Social media is the perfect place to break down instructions in a visually appealing and scroll-stopping way! Take BuzzFeedTasty as an example - I think I watch their recipe videos more than I do videos of dogs on skateboards - which is saying something. You can follow along, each video is short and to-the-point, and I don't know about you, but I can finish watching 10 of these videos at 2am, and feel ready and raring to prepare chocolate-dipped ice cream tacos.
6. Team up with another brand
Co-marketing is the ultimate example of social media teamwork. Team up with a brand to promote a webinar, eBook or another content piece to get exposure to one another's audience! In finding friends to buddy up with, let me extend some advice. Go for brands that have a similar target audience to you. Apple and Nike? Big yes. Sephora and Bunnings? Perhaps not. Here's an example from the O.G's themselves. Go team!
7. User-generated content
Take appreciation to the next level. Ditch retweeting 'mentions', and try giving them a personal shout-out! You might have a customer of the week segment on your socials which rewards your loyal advocates with a prize or a display of their Instagram handle (peep that clout).
8. Take it live!
To cut a long story short, there's something compelling about live video - and the numbers don't lie. People spend three times longer watching Facebook Live videos than pre-recorded ones. Marketers like Seth Godin use live streaming as a means to answer questions and educate his audience. Whether you're conducting a Q & A session, vlogging your day or livestreaming your reaction to TV events - chatting with people in real-time creates an increasingly personal connection and adds a human touch to your advertising / marketing strategy.
9. Try out making memes
This is on the trickier end of the content spectrum - because like sushi, meme's aren't for everyone. But don't let that put you off! Social media is a breeding ground for humorous images and satire, but remember that there's always a time and place for memes. Ensure you understand what your audience finds funny - otherwise you'll come across extra-cringe and a bit out of touch. While you might be totally Jimmy Carr in your personal life, keep your business memes a bit more Kevin Hart.
10. Conduct an interview
Interviewing a relevant influencer or professional in your industry serves as the perfect combo: no not chips and icecream - education and entertainment! They're often a lot more informal and off-the-cuff - making them a lot more authentic, and what's more, you can repurpose these interviews into podcasts, blog posts and Youtube videos. In our case, we've repurposed our interviews with clients into Case Studies - check it out!
11. Use a poll
If social media has taught us anything, it's that people love to share their opinion - even when it isn't required. To feed this need and make it 'Karen'-proof, try out a poll! They don't have to be overly formal or even sales-related. It's a conversation-starter and a playful way to interact with your audience.
12. Get on that trending train
Often, the best social media ideas come to you when you least expect them. Check out the trending topics section on Twitter and Facebook to find out what's trending and how you can base your content around it. While you may have a small window of opportunity for relevancy points, topical posts can score big credit points. But take it from me: when in doubt, avoid political or sensitive topics. DO be witty and satirical. DON'T invite ol' PR war over for tea by taking things a bit too far. As far as advertising strategies go, this one takes the cake (... or the Oreo).
13. Try out some animation
Animated video is an engaging way to tell your brand story more comprehensively, and play to your audiences' need for visual stimulus as part of your advertising campaign! With more and more brands jumping on the bandwagon because video is the 'it' thing to do in 2020, animation cuts through the noise. Animation evokes emotion that resonates with viewers, it sparks conversation and makes your audience want to follow the story. As well as this, it simplifies complex topics, showing how processes work in a fun and engaging way. If you're interested in spicing up your video content with animation, look no further than our newest friends at Norm Productions - here's an example of what they've done for us!
GIF's, or simple moving images, are a popular way of communicating on social media. They're a super fun way to make a post stand out or share a joke with lighthearted content. Well-selected GIF's are dynamite content for taking part in ongoing cultural conversations, trending topics and pop culture moments.
The best news is, Facebook and Twitter both have integrated GIF search engines that allow you to find a perfect GIF by simply searching for keywords. GIPHY.com is also the perfect place to find GIF's or make your own. Check out how the Great British Bake Off do it!
15. Client feedback
While sifting through client feedback might not sound like a great way to spend your day, it makes for a great way to highlight positive experiences from real-life customer interactions. Find flattering reviews from clients and ask them if you can share a quote on your social media accounts, or even offer customers a discount and then share it. To jazz them up (because plan old text is so five minutes ago) use software like Adobe Spark to create a digital way to share feedback. Check out how our friends (and office neighbours) Ply, kill it with their testimonial images!
16. Market data
If you've got your hands on some original data, or if there are metrics you think everyone in your industry should be aware of, share 'em! One example would be Hootsuite’s annual Social Trends Report, which includes data based on a survey of thousands of social marketers. With software like Canva, you can create visually interesting posts about statistics without being a haughty taughty graphic designer. Check out how The Economist transforms a pretty sobering statistic into a bite-sized news piece.
17. Blog posts
I can hardly get to the end of this blog without pretending that I'm not going to market the hell out of it on social media, can I? No liv, no you can't. Not only does doing this send more traffic to your blog, it also makes your blog and social media feel more seamless, cohesive and consistent, like digital puzzle pieces. On Facebook and LinkedIn, in-house articles and blog posts are a great way to share your expertise and provide updates on your company’s work. For Instagram, post an appealing on-brand graphic that fits the content. If you’re posting to the feed, redirect users to a link in your bio. If you’re posting to Stories (and you have over 10,000 followers), employ the “Swipe up” feature.
Reward your followers and gain new ones by hosting a contest or giveaway on your social channels. Boost engagement by making a post comment or share a condition for entry, and you might gain new followers as people hear about the contest from family and friends. While this is an oh-so-charitable way to promote new products and services, be sure to check out legal requirements first.
19. Your employees
It usually takes years to build trust in a brand, but ... showcasing the real people behind the scenes is a safe way to build a personal connection a heap faster! Try out an employee of the week segment to shine the spotlight on your well-performing staff members, or you could even let your employees advocate for your products or services during your social media campaigns. Your followers will appreciate being able to put a face to your brand, which helps them feel more connected to what you do and offer. Check out what we've been doing to put a face to the name!
20. Tik Toks
As an opportunity to connect with audiences in a new, fun and engaging way, TikTok portrays a raw and unfiltered view of your brand, showcasing people using your brand in their everyday lives. TikTok allows you to therefore, drive user generated content, host hashtag challenges, partner with relevant influencers and even advertise!
But, much like memes - there's a time and place for Tik Toks ... so, put down your selfie stick pitchforks - I know it's the new 'thing', but it doesn't always work. If you're a young fashion line looking to target Gen Z? Yes, go for your life. If you're an Accountancy Firm targeting middle-aged professionals? Probs not.
I have legitimately watched some high-profile real estate agents try to build a fun-loving 'brand' on Tik Tok by dancing and lipsyncing their lil' hearts out. While there's part of me that says - "you do you, I guess", a much bigger part says "Hold the bus - that's actually bad marketing". With any digital marketing strategy, your main consideration should be your audience. Cashed up middle-aged investors aren't hanging out on Tik Tok, and if they are - well, thats another story entirely.
21. Company news
Feel free to share exciting news about your organisation on your social media feeds - maybe you won a new big client or an industry award, or you're even introducing a new product or hire. But just remember to personalise it, it makes the post look a lot more 'let's celebrate together', and a lot less 'look at me, look at me'.
22. Interesting or inspirational quotes
Quote posts are especially popular on Instagram and Pinterest, but can be effective on any platform with a visual element. Now, this isn't an open invitation to blast "Live Laugh Love", "The World is Out There - Go Chase It" or anything else to this effect on all of your socials and hope for the best. Instead, use quote posts to highlight important parts of your articles or blog posts. They can also be used to share tips, advice, and insights from key people at your company. We love how Ply does it!
Event posts are obvious in some instances, like if you're hosting a party or a workshop. But try thinking about using event pages on Facebook for more than just physical gatherings (especially during a time when physical ain't a thing). You could try posting an event on Facebook for a webinar for example, or an upcoming sale.
Think about creating events like Twitter chats or social media promotions as well. Promoting things like this via an event instead of a regular social media post means anyone who indicates they are interested or attending will get a reminder when it starts.
24. A peek inside your product
This puts a twist on the 'plain Jane' product photo - give your followers a look inside that they otherwise might not get until they buy it.
Unboxing videos are a popular iteration of this idea that can be found all over Youtube. You can of course make these yourself or reach out to a creator who has made them with your products for reposting. It doesn't need to be a huge talk show-style, unveiling - it can be as simple as sharing a few pages of the inside of a new book.
Engagement is to social media what gravy is to a roast. Essential. And the best way to boost engagement? Try asking an open-ended question, one that can't be answered with a simple yes or no.
You can of course, ask a question in a text post - but that’s less likely to get engagement, and not as fun. One way to ask questions on social media is to use Instagram’s Questions sticker in Instagram Stories. You can then share some of the responses you get in Stories as well.
Phew! There are now no excuses for you to recycle the same content over and over again! A rich assortment of different types of content makes for a much more engaging experience for your audience, and ultimately leads to an increase in traffic to your website. As I have now shown you (and my old Maths teacher), it sure pays to have your fingers in lots of pi's ;).