After establishing an up front strategy, the process moves into the content creation stage. Breakenridge’s Social Media Strategy Wheel illustrates how good digital content sits on a strong foundation of strategy, which requires not only a clear understanding of a brand and its objectives but also research. Research could include what you know about your audiences, your brand’s larger industry, current news in your community and the world, and the different digital platforms where messages will be shared. This research allows you to share information and start conversations that inform, interest or entertain your audiences.
Nathan Okuley, digital brand strategist and social media marketing consultant, has worked with a variety of companies from large brands, to agencies to small businesses. He says he develops social content buckets with a brand’s strategic goals in mind. For example, buckets might become:
- brand story
- behind the scenes
- people of the brand
“As a consumer, when you think about the type of content you like to absorb, you can apply that same knowledge to your audience and decide what content will be most relevant,” Okuley explains. He emphasizes that creating social content for a brand requires a firm understanding of the audience and what they are seeking from the brand. For example, content meant to serve an existing customer should look different from content aimed at marketing to potential new customers. Content may even shift by campaign or by season.
In the video below, Okuley talks about creating content for a brand and the ways it looks very different than running a personal social media account.
Consumers crave authentic dialogues, which means brands must find a balance in the types of content they push out on social media channels. One way brands are doing this is through an increased focus on content strategy. The next section of the chapter provides an overview of the growing practice of content marketing as a way to reach consumers through valuable content and compelling stories.