This week marked the first Official Day of Summer, but here in Arizona, we’ve been sweating our faces off since March. Yes, I know, it’s a dry heat. But 115 is 115, and it can be tragic for those who don’t know how to handle the punishing desert sun.
So when our weather heads north of Gwyneth Paltrow’s weight, we at OMA take a long hard look at our content calendars to ensure we didn’t write something about a daylong hike in beautiful May that would be inappropriate in record-high temperature June.
You see, writing our content calendars weeks or months in advance is one of the hidden pitfalls of the social media overachiever. Here’s how the conversation usually goes in our heads…
Did you follow your annual content strategy to ensure you have a good mix of content? CHECK! Is the content in your client’s brand tone and voice? Natch, CHECK! Have you remembered to harness the killer user-generated content your community so graciously offers up? CHECK AND CHECK!
Those are stellar social media best practices, but you might be missing three really important steps to ensuring your content is Relevant, Appropriate and Dynamic, or RAD! (It helps if you shout this out in your head while you are reading it, hence the carefully placed exclamation point.)
Step 1. Ask yourself, “Is my content Relevant?”
At OMA, we do our fair share of social media audits for prospective clients and current clients looking to up their game. I can’t tell you how many times we come across things that seem less than relevant to the audience. Take weird posts about the weekend, for example. Like this gem.
But it has a horse on it! And it’s for Horse & Rider Magazine! How can something this awesome be wrong?
It isn’t exactly wrong, per se, but your average horse rider surely has a calendar and knows that it is #Friday (please don’t get me started on this hashtag strategy). Perhaps providing information on #horseshow events this weekend would be a bit more relevant to the half a million – 540,346 at the time of this posting – equine enthusiasts on H&R’s FB page.
Even if you don’t fall prey to the throwaway #Fri-Yay style posts, it is still important to continually review your content through a relevancy lens. I have the privilege of reviewing and editing many of our social media calendars before they go to OMA clients, and I’m always on the lookout for things like photos of flowers in bloom that really ARE blooming the month the post is scheduled.
Trust me, if you post a picture like this of an Ocotillo in January and ask your community what they love best about this plant, they will tell you that they love the fact that those pretty red flowers only show up between March and June. BURN. Don’t complain. You were the one who wanted to increase community engagement by 50% y/y.
And that community deserves your diligence when it comes to serving up content that is truly relevant to the brand, the geographic market, the target demographic, the time of year, heck, even the time of day.
Step 2. Is my content Appropriate for what’s happening in the world, right at this moment?
Speaking of time of day, how often have you frantically searched your scheduled posts when something unexpected happens on a local, national or global level? I hope your answer is All The Dang Time.
This is perhaps the best reason for your social and PR teams to be tied at the hip. The media relations team will have their fingers on the pulse of breaking news and should share this content with community managers ASAP. In fact, you might want to consider writing this process into your content development protocol to ensure nothing inappropriate slips through the cracks #teamwork.
So, is it appropriate to post something today about the strength of the European Union given our friends in Britain are voting on a possible walkout? Hmmm, probably not, unless you cover finance, or world politics, or are being relevant and helpful. Nicely done, @TheEconomist.
On a more serious note, let’s talk about what to do when devastating events like Orlando occur. While we don’t suggest going completely dark on your social channels, we do strongly recommend a more critical eye on anything that could be construed as insensitive or inappropriate.
You know your brand and community better than anyone, so use your best judgment on what is appropriate as each day unfolds. Here’s a great post from Jay Baer and the Convince and Convert team on social media dos and don’ts for handling Death and Tragedy.
Step 3. Make it Dynamic!
Having a strong content strategy, dedicated community managers who totally get the brand and deep trusting partnership with your clients can free you up to be the most RAD of all – posting dynamic content in real time.
Take the Oreo Superbowl blackout post for example. This may go down in social media history as the ultimate spur-of-the-moment superstar content with 20k likes on FB and 14k retweets. Not to mention the countless media stories! I told you PR and social should be BFFs.
When the lights went out during Superbowl XXWhatever, 360i went to work creating this little piece of fun. It is so ON BRAND it hurts!
360i president, Sarah Hofstetter credited the brand team and client executives for their willingness to go off script and have some fun.
“You need a brave brand to approve content that quickly. When all of the stakeholders come together so quickly, you’ve got magic,” Hofstetter said.
A more recent example is how the Kohl’s team jumped on the opportunity to hitch its Millennium Falcon to Chewbacca Mom’s most watched Facebook Live video – EVER. With 135 million views, this was a big bang for Kohl’s marketing bucks and should silence the critics who don’t think social media has an impact on little things like stock price and brand value.
Being dynamic in real time is not easy and is certainly not for the faint of heart. You may not hit it out of the park every time. And you really have to pay attention to your entire brand ecosystem, because these moments are fleeting and elusive.
Almost as elusive as a national championship, right Cleveland? Mad props to long-time Nike ad shop, Wieden + Kennedy, who had this bad boy launched within hours of the championship.
Of course, when you work with a brand like Nike for more than three decades, you’re bound to create a little magic when the stars align.
Other brands creating some RAD content on social? Tell us about your favorites and how you make your social media content Relevant, Appropriate and Dynamic.