The Social Glue

No brand’s successful social media efforts look the same as another’s. We’ve seen brands try to copy each other’s success in the past, but the bottom line is that those attempts typically fall short. Success doesn’t start at the tactical level, from the top-down. It starts from the ground-up, rooted in the brand architecture and social purpose.

Building a Social Brand

Whenever a brand gets started in the social space, it’s starting with what is essentially a blank slate. This is a reintroduction with a consumer in a space they haven’t seen the brand before. Everything matters.

Authenticity is important, but that doesn’t mean just going with your gut. Everything we say, do and think in the social space should be tied back to the brand. Consumers should be able to tell (or at least have an idea) from a single tweet or Facebook post what a brand stands for and wants to deliver.

The Ingredients of Glue

Creating this experience and feeling that can live in a single tweet, YouTube video or Facebook post doesn’t come by accident. No matter the platform, no matter the time, no matter the form content takes, every successful social media campaign has at least three components: tone, purpose and content. Each component builds off the other, and each will be unique depending upon the brand. That’s why copycat attempts typically fail. The ingredients are incompatible. Every brand needs to build these components for themselves.

Tone: This is how the brand feels and sounds in the social space. It’s the brand architecture conveyed with personality. The goal is to make it clear how the brand will sound, what it likes/doesn’t like and so on. This helps everyone understand the personality they need to channel when representing the brand online. For example, if there are multiple community managers, consumers shouldn’t be able to tell when one is talking versus the other.

Purpose: This is why the brand is sharing and connecting with consumers online. This should be focused on the purpose the brand is delivering to consumers, not the purpose of social media for the company (that’s another discussion). Brands need to deliver value to their social customers, whether that purpose is delivering exclusive content, providing entertainment or sharing valuable information. Does a post asking everyone’s favorite color deliver value to them? They can probably get that elsewhere. The point is don’t be disposable.

Content: This is where it all comes together. The tone and purpose align to deliver something tangible to users like content to consume, interact with, share or build off of. All of it is communicated in a tone aligned with the brand and in a way that makes its value clear to the consumer.

These three components make the glue that bring together the best social media marketing efforts out there. That’s why they always feel unique, authentic to the brand and customer-centric.