Content Planning with a Brand Lens
Like a brand, great social content takes work. There’s a lot that goes into planning each and every post on a social media platform. The American Marketing Association defines brand as “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” The website is a great resource if you haven’t been involved in planning around brand identity– https://www.ama.org/topics/branding.
Visually, the picture, graphic or video must tell a story as a stand-alone piece, supporting the overall brand platform. Your written message must be succinct, yet impactful. As you collect, craft and curate the content pieces it’s also important to reflect on the entire suite of content and check the consistency of messaging and brand presence across the social platforms.
Sometimes it makes sense to share content across platforms. This is often viewed by social media professionals as an easy way out, but depending on the goal of the post, it might give the best results to re-post from one platform onto another. Generally speaking, fresh, relevant content is best.
Here’s a list to start planning your social media brand elements:
- Determine the goal of your content and brand messaging in order to determine individual posts.
- Incorporate company values and company culture.
- Make sure this content addresses your customer’s needs.
Goal of the content and brand messaging
Tip: Your business goals should align with your Marketing Communications plan.
All members of the social media team should become experts of the company’s strategic goals. Strategic goals become mini goals within the social media plan. Then, tactics are born out of the goals and are tailored and measured based on value to the brand. If you are engaging the audience with your brand messaging, you will see increased interaction, clicks, shares and ultimately, purchases.
The social media strategist is the acting external Chief Brand Officer, monitoring what is happening on the social media airwaves that is important to the business by way of key words, trending items and news. It’s important to connect company goals with what’s happening outside your walls.
Incorporate company values and company culture
Tip: Live, breathe and speak (write) your company values.
By incorporating your company values into your social media messaging, you are showing people the “why” of your brand. Why does your company do what it does? This moves to the human side of the business too. Why does Sally work for your organization? Tell her story, especially if she authentically lives those company values both personally and professionally. This gives other customers an opportunity to connect with others in the community (online or neighborhood) and can influence or enhance relationships.
Invite customers into the conversation. A robust two-way conversation is necessary to create a strong social environment. If a customer is comfortable speaking to you in a social media channel, he or she is likely to be comfortable with your brand. If your social media team is open to inviting people to the conversation, they create an environment of transparency and community. When you take the time to get to know your customer, you are better positioned to understand their needs.
How do you meet the needs of your customer?
Tip: You won’t truly know what the customers need until you ask.
Believe it or not, questions are powerful sources of content for your company page. Rather than always telling the customer what you do, how you do it and why, you should ask them what’s important to them relevant to your company. You can get answers to questions by polling, creating an online survey, or asking customers/non-customers to participate in focus groups or interviews offline. Often, incentives are helpful in securing participants and showing them their time is valuable.
If you choose to ask questions and get answers, you have to do something with the data you collect. Analyze, understand and put into action the things that you have learned. If not, you wasted not only your time, but your customers or potential customers’ time as well.
Brand work is important
Making sure the brand identity shines in your social media work is an effective way to grow both audience and revenue. Your mission, vision and values help shape perceptions. Messaging is key to creating a lifelong conversation with the follower, customer, and/or brand advocate.
Author: Dr. Melissa Goodson
Dr. Melissa Goodson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business and Technology at The College of St. Scholastica, St. Paul campus where she teaches and develops courses for the MBA in Leadership & Change program. For over 12 years, she has worked in leadership roles in marketing communications, product management and strategic planning for media companies. She serves as a board member and Marketing & Communications Director for the Minnesota Organization Development Organization. Her professional interests include brand management, leadership development and organizational culture.