After years of being taught that “content is king,” brands have created a royal amount of it. Social media is cluttered with videos, ebooks, white papers, guides, blog posts, webinars, infographics and other types of content. Now a problem has emerged: there are too many kings in the kingdom. It’s hard to tell who has the real authority because there is too much content.
Here, we offer insights into how social media and content distribution have changed since the outbreak of COVID-19 that has driven many companies to generate digital content and presence has grown exponentially. Consider these seven ways your business can adapt and stand out by creating the right content, for the right people, and distributing it where it impacts your business goals.
Tip #1: Less Quantity, and Better Quality
One high-quality piece of content can bring in better results than a dozen mediocre pieces. For a business that makes the proper investment in authoritative, useful, educational content, it’s possible to approach a topic in depth.
You can grow your brand’s reputation for subject-matter expertise by taking weeks or months to explore a single topic, squeezing every drop of value from the content.
Each member of your audience has unique ways of learning. Use a pillar piece of content as the basis for a series of blog posts, social graphics, emails, quizzes, podcast episodes, social soundbytes, a webinar, or an infographic that all take a closer look at the topic in different ways.
This also adds opportunities for co-creation with experts outside of your business.
Tip #2: Co-Create with Collaborative Content
Professionals are deluged with digital content these days, so one simple way to reduce the clutter is to co-create. Appear on someone else’s podcast, or co-host a webinar, and you’ve reached twice the audience with half the amount of content.
Look for other ways to share your content strategy with partners, resellers, and even major customers. Co-sponsor a research project, appear on a panel or roundtable together, or share booth space. Co-creation has many other benefits, besides helping reach new audiences. It can show the value you offer to the ecosystem overall.
Engaging with partner brands on social media can bring more exposure to your message through their audience, and highlight the value of your partnership. These activities can open up new revenue opportunities while reducing the amount of content overload your audience might be experiencing from other sources.
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Tip #3: Spend Time Understanding Your Audience
Remote work has also made communities more remote. For many professionals, office interactions have been replaced by group video calls from home. Many people are craving connection, and they have more time to spend right now than money. What better time to ask how they’re doing?
Whether you use surveys, polls, quizzes or other methods, you can learn a lot about how your audiences think. Engage with them to understand what they want and how they’re feeling, and share the insights you gain.
Tip #4: Find the Right Communities to Build Credibility and Influence
Growing an online community has been a hot concept in social media for years, and coronavirus has helped accelerate the trend. At the same time, public social media discourse has become increasingly toxic, leading to the rise of more “gated” communities.
Individual creators use channels like Patreon or Twitch to bring smaller groups together and enable a sense of closer community. Professionals might join closed LinkedIn groups, or participate on sites like Spiceworks, Product Hunt, Dev.to, Growth Hackers, or various subreddits.
If you can be present and genuine in your interactions, joining a community like that can benefit your brand.
Make sure to think small, too. One small gesture can make a difference, so take time to appreciate and reward your customers and influencers. Try connecting your digital activities to the real world, too. Sweepstakes and giveaways are still effective, along with more personal things: try having lunch catered to a key account while you discuss a new campaign or offering.
Tip #5: Create Ephemeral Content
While evergreen content is valuable, people’s attention is naturally drawn to what is new. Don’t discount the value of ephemeral content that vanishes in 24 hours. Snapchat is famous for bringing this idea to the mainstream, and it’s now possible to produce Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, LinkedIn Stories and Twitter Fleets.
What is the benefit of this type of content creation? It drives active engagement with your audience, keeping your brand in front of them without adding extra clutter.
Take a recent content piece and storyboard it visually. You might be able to bring attention to the most relevant quotes and exciting ideas over several weeks or months (without asking your audience to spend 45 minutes reading the whole thing).
Is ephemeral content right for B2B brands? Ultimately, that’s up to you. However, even if a LinkedIn Story or Twitter Fleet from a B2B brand only gets a handful of views, your business might be the only one of your competitors in that space.
Social audio has become the latest type of ephemeral content: Clubhouse being the most prominent example. Reddit and LinkedIn are rolling out competing services, and Twitter Spaces already offer a similar idea.
Tip #6: Double Down on Your Best Channels
Over time, businesses often fall into social media habits. Years ago, somebody decided a certain channel was important, and so that’s just what is done.
Now might be the perfect time to declutter and do some growth hacking. If one social channel has failed to deliver meaningful business results, try letting it go dormant and focusing instead of what’s working best. Consider identifying a few top-performing content pieces, and using a single social media channel to explore how it applies to different verticals, or use-cases.
Tip #7: Try New Approaches
Sure, Reddit doesn’t seem like a “new” channel, but your business might be in position now to try something that’s been overlooked in the past. Obviously, that doesn’t mean launching a TikTok or Snapchat channel, but some activities can be transformed into a fresh new format.
Instead of just sending a monthly newsletter, for example, consider including an audio clip or podcast excerpt from a senior executive. Or record a 3-minute video interview with a member of the dev team who’s excited about the next release.
Standing out on social media takes a new level of creativity during COVID. Invest in high-quality content creation, co-create when possible, spend time understanding your audience and engaging in communities, look into ephemeral content, focus on your best channels, or try a brand new type. Which approach seems right for your brand?