Most brands get, by now, that they need to be creating and publishing social content. Content marketing is, after all, the new branding, according to Copyblogger’s Frank Strong.
But is it worthwhile for a brand to create and publish social content when the point of doing so isn’t clear?
One might also ask: is it worthwhile to tell a story if you don’t know what you’re trying to say?
Not for long might just be the best answer to both.
The truth is many brands aren’t sure what to say when they start out. And that’s ok—if you’re testing and experimenting to see who’s listening out there. Or if you’re reaching out to see what resonates and sticks with your audience. However, many brands join social platforms only because they “feel they should be there.” But just because a social platform is available doesn’t mean that you should be using it. It’s unlikely your insurance company needs Snapchat, for example. (At least not yet.)
If you fish around for too long, all the fish are likely to keep swimming.
A better plan: Draft your brand’s “why” and “how”
Your brand story begins when you can answer—even in rough form—these simple, but critical questions:
- Who are we as a brand?
- What do we stand for?
- Where are we going?
Draft your answers. Or get in a room with your colleagues and talk them through. You’ll hear your narrative emerge.
How to do this? Tell each other your stories. See where they intersect and how common threads emerge. You might notice that certain values or practices pop to the forefront. Write all of these down. They form the very bones of your social content strategy. You can start to build around them until you’ve crafted a narrative that feels just right.
Knowing your story—even if it’s loosely formed—will give you immediate insight into how to craft your content marketing strategy, into the kinds of messaging that tells your brand story in the smartest possible way across the right platforms.
Your strategy then yields the plan: actionable steps designed to drive the kind of customer behavior you want, whether it’s bringing in new guests, deepening loyalty with current guests, recruiting new employees, or attracting media interest. Almost all social platforms are pliable enough to perform well for each audience—if you have a good plan. (Check out General Electric for inspiration!)
So, yes, it all starts with story. When you know your story, you know your point. And that’s when you can express it powerfully and in a way that feels truly authentic to your brand.