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Guest Column: Re-imagine content for social media

03-January-2013
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Guest Column: Re-imagine content for social media

We’ve all heard the cliché ‘content is king’ often enough to make our ears bleed. But in a big data world, everyone and their nanny are creating ‘content’ which even brands have to admit can often be vastly more entertaining than the vastly more expensive TV commercial they just commissioned.

So now of course every brand jumps on the social media juggernaut, promptly creating destinations on the holy trinity of Facebook – Twitter – YouTube and churning out post after post about Bollywood’s latest, or cricket’s next or government’s worst.  Never mind of course that you’re selling ball bearings for a living and this doesn’t do a thing for your business except leave people feeling utterly befuddled.

So what kind of content should you be creating for social platforms? What makes content ‘social’? Here’s the lowdown on what we, at WebChutneyhave, tried and tested…

Tell the right story to the right people
If you’re really a ball bearings company, you may not have an entertaining story to tell people on Facebook. But you’ll probably have some useful industry insights or information for your customers. Consider a newsletter, a private Facebook group or a blog. Being social after all is about being relevant to your target group’s specific interests. If you do have a story, however, pick the right platform to share it.

You’ve got 10 seconds to make an impression.
That’s about the time a consumer will take to see your post or tweet and decide whether he or she wants to interact with it. That’s why images work so well on Facebook, it’s easy and lazy. That’s why tweets are restricted to 140 characters.

In fact a recent study says the half-life of a post on Facebook is about 30 minutes. Which means your post will achieve half of its overall reach within the first 30 minutes. Finding the right time to post becomes even more important.

Re-imagine – resist the temptation to repurpose
If you’re one of those brands that have an association with a consumer passion like sport or Bollywood or fashion, chances are you already have a bank of content – videos, pictures, etc. It’s easy to say let’s just put it up on all social networks. A better way though is to make it social friendly. Reduce the duration of the video or add subtitles, take three or four pictures and create a fun mashup puzzle, use the pictures to drive a slogan or tweet contest and more.

By building interactive elements around your content, you are in essence making it more social. While working with Coke Studio Season 2, we realised that the content Coca-Cola had wasn’t really ‘exclusive’; people had seen it on TV and MTV also accessed the same content bank for its Facebook fans. So we created exclusivity by making video mashups, karaoke style videos, lyric cards, instruments puzzles, live tweeting and other fun stuff. Process, create, co-create, mix, mashup and re-imagine as content experiences to amplify the impact.

Simple tools to make your content viral
Hashtags, annotations, labeling, tagging – these are all simple and extremely effective tools to make your content more discoverable and easily shareable. Hashtags of course function as content pieces themselves and the fact that they play the same role on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest make them especially useful.

And lastly, don’t forget that ‘what works’ is contextual
Resist the temptation to judge content performance by the numbers that social platforms give you and try to apply your own brand metrics and objectives instead. If awareness is an objective, study the reach of your brand, message and product info. If advocacy is an objective then virality and recommendations is the metric to know. Set the right context for performance measurement and you’ll understand ‘engagement’ better.

The author is Executive Creative Director at Webchutney. 

Kranti Gada joined the family business at Shemaroo in 2006 after a successful stint of over two years in marketing at Pepsi Co. She has been associated with the company for 12 years.

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