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Social media — how to be socially relevant

As digital and advertising agencies, it is our prerogative and responsibility to not ill-advise clients. We need to have important conversations about social media presence, and these include asking questions such as: Do we really need to post three-to-four times a week or day? Do we want to have eyeball frequency or have real emotional connections with people?

As a brand, no one cares about what you have to say. Unless you say what people — communities —are interested in or really want to hear. People gather around certain topics of interest because they matter to them. They become emotionally invested in the topics and conversations. As a brand, your role is then to be part of these interests and conversations without being intrusive and forceful. Your role is not to shout loud or try to stand out and be heard; it’s about listening and being involved.

Different approaches

The objectives of having frequency and making a connection are different, and therefore plans to achieving them will be unique, and will require different approaches.

Here’s a five-step approach to being socially relevant by making emotional connections:

  1. As mentioned above, the fundamentals are important. If you think about it, social media is about conversations and gathering of interests and people. People are either pulled into or fall into pockets of interests. As a brand, you need to find and decide on these pockets. Have a plan and purpose.
  2. If, as a brand, you engage with topics, conversations and interests that are important to people, then you will start to be relevant to them. Social media was never for brands to attract people into boring conversations. Brands should push themselves towards people, their conversations and interests, and gather there, not the other way around.
  3. The next time content is to be shared or posted on any platform, before you even consider the platform itself, ask yourself: Does this really matter to people? Will people care? As you are about to hit that share, post or publish button, does it feel sexy on your fingers? If the answer is no, then why post it? Does it make you smile? Have you been eager to share with the world? If not, what are you doing?
  4. As and when you create the content calendars, because the process is just as important as the end result, are you excited about what you are creating? When you finally get to publish your posts, when you click that ‘publish’ button, are you genuinely excited or is this just another post or tweet? Are you merely ticking the boxes, just doing your job? Don’t copy and paste your website content onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; that’s silly and a waste of your employees’ time and clients’ money. Don’t just tick the boxes. That’s easy.
  5. Following on from above, this means that you’ll need to prioritise between quantity and frequency, and quality and resonance. Not copying and posting content from your website means focusing more and more on creativity and the crafting of your messages. The implication here is that, when giving people the responsibilities of managing pages, how exerted on the job are they — do they care about the brand? If they do, they’ll also care about what the brand is engaged in. They’ll dedicate time to crafting, as opposed to ticking the boxes.

Crafting social media content

Craft your social-media engagement effort; finesse and refine it, which will take time, effort and hard work. This means that social media people will need to spend more time on creative solutions, on coming up with ideas that will increase the number of people who fall in love with your brand(s) on social media. Crafting means paying more attention to the narrative of your posts, their quality, and not thinking about just trying to meet deadlines.

Not everybody cares if your brand has a page on any social media platform; they only care about their friends, what interests them and especially what they want to post. The rest is just background noise. If you want to see if people care, delete your page for a month (or just don’t post anything) and see if anyone will call and ask about your disappearance.

People don’t buy newspapers for adverts; neither do they go onto social media for them. They log on to post or look for content that is interesting that they can like, share and/or comment on. Social media is a social gathering space, so be interesting. Be socially relevant.

Bogosi Motshegwa

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