Social media marketing suffers from “random acts of content,” which makes it hard to win a reliable audience with a consistent appeal.
Jay Baer of Convince and Convert recommends following the lead of television networks that air shows with a “defined audience and narrative arc” in mind. No randomness about their approach.
“For each social platform, think about what social media content initiatives you can execute on a regular basis, keeping in mind your audience and objectives for that platform,” Baer advises. “Then create and distribute these ‘shows’ consistently. This gives your audiences something to recognize, engage with and (hopefully) look forward to on a regular basis.”
“Repeatability” is the key to attracting and keeping an audience on social media, Baer says. In a blog posted on Medium, he gave as an example a major homebuilder that launched an Instagram presence centered on images of interiors in its homes. Baer said the photos average 5,000 likes apiece and fetch comments, including from professional interior designers, that offer suggestions for new design touches and Instagram topics.
“It’s a highly targeted, nearly free focus group,” Baer says.
A one-size-fits-all social media strategy doesn’t cut it as each major platform has sharpened its differentiation, attracting a different mix of viewers and offering them a different vibe. That means, Baer explains, a separate content strategy for Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
“Posting the same social media content, in multiple channels, at the same time and hoping to achieve spectacular results hasn’t worked in years,” Baer insists. “From a marketing perspective, there is no such thing as ‘social media.’ It’s nearly pointless to think of social media as one thing, because the audiences, use cases, technology, algorithms, optimal cadences and other characteristics of each social platform continue to diverge.”
Once you have locked in a strategy and understand what viewers expect from individual channels, the task is to identify useful and informative kinds of content that can approximate “regularly scheduled programming,” to use Baer’s words.
You still can offer a mix of content, Baer says, but the bread-and-butter of the strategy need to be “shows” that viewers can count on, look forward to and tune in almost automatically.
While specialized and repeatable content designed to fit the contours of each social media platform you employ may sound daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Yes, it requires thought and discipline, but not a full Hollywood production team.
Baer’s example provides a solid hint. His homebuilder client established his brand on attractive interiors. Ergo, why not share his best interiors in images on platforms that reward photography such as Instagram and Pinterest, the latter of which has a compatible demographic. The effort involves regularly scooping up good imagery and presenting it in a consistent fashion that is viewer-friendly and invites engagement.
Hard, but perhaps fun, too. One more chore on a to-do list, but a chore that earns feedback and kudos.
As usual, Baer drills down to practical ideas to achieve marketing success. The concept of repeatability is at once obvious and brilliant. Even better, it already has a track record of success. Just watch your favorite TV shows to see the proof.