At times like this, when many of us feel concerned and anxious, we all need to be careful about what we say – whether to the people we are close to, to our colleagues, or to our clients and stakeholders. And that’s just as true for corporates as it is for individuals.

As the ‘front line’ of company engagement with your public audience, that caution needs to extend to social media channels – it’s incredibly easy to misjudge the tone of your social posts and wreck your reputation in a moment. Business as usual content, pre-scheduled and automated, should be dropped in favour of thoughtful and responsive output that reacts and responds day by day.

People are looking to brands and companies to give sensible and appropriate advice as we live through this pandemic, on topics they have ‘earned’ the right to discuss. Some of the world’s politicians and leaders will be found wanting in the advice they give to their citizens during this crisis – companies can step into the trust vacuum.

How do you ensure your social media content developed during a global crisis does not offend, upset or alienate audiences during this difficult time?

Review your output

First, swiftly assess what you are saying currently, and what is scheduled on your social channels. Is it appropriate at a time like this? Be clear on the role your brand plays in people’s lives, how you add value for your audience and use that knowledge to help guide your decisions. Pivot to areas that will have resonance and meaning for your audiences.

Eva Taylor, Head of Social & Marketing Operations at social media management platform Hootsuite, gives this advice: “Sensitive situations, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, require a careful and thoughtful approach. Take a step back and re-examine the content you’re sharing on a regular basis to avoid appearing insensitive or irrelevant, which can negatively impact your brand in the long run.”

Shift to a different tone, says Taylor, “A health scare is not a ‘marketing opportunity’ to capitalize on: instead, focus on how your brand can help others.” She added, “Keep an eye on breaking news and how it might impact your chosen approach. Observe how your audience responds and consider adapting your tone accordingly when crafting any messages that you plan to share on social.”

I don’t know how many times in the last few weeks I have read a social media post that has very obviously been pre-scheduled months ago. They appear crass and ill-timed.

Run through your scheduled posts and check them for tone. Do they feel wrong or badly timed? Do they seem insensitive to any members of your audience or your client groups?

Direct resources to social

This is not the time to close down communications. In fact, this is the moment when, as an organisation, you should be communicating more than ever with both your employees and your external stakeholders.

Clients, customers and suppliers will be looking to you for a clear outline of how you are responding to the crisis and how they can expect to be treated. This is the right time to be demonstrating your commitment to a true purpose, especially if you have previously espoused one in your values or communications.

Audiences and followers will want to hear how your leaders are responding and that they are ‘steering the ship’ confidently in the face of adversity. They will also need reassurance that you are maintaining at least some semblance of an operation in spite of the challenges of remote working and social distancing.

Taylor recommends: “If your audience is reaching out to you with questions and concerns, this is a great time for your brand to participate on social in a transparent, empathetic and timely manner. Use this as an opportunity to strengthen your relationships and build your community.”

Be honest and be human

As with all communications, it’s important that you’re honest and open in your messaging. That does not mean that you have to reveal everything that is going on behind-the-scenes. But it does mean that you need an authentic and honest tone of voice when you speak to the wider audience. We all know that this is a very human catastrophe and everybody is under pressure whether with family, work or with their companies. Bear that in mind when you think about the tone of voice you use.

If you read some of the latest output from Microsoft, who we have been working with, you will see that CEO Satya Nadella has been on the front foot with his commentary and content on social media, as has Microsoft President, Brad Smith. Their messages have been delivered in an authentic and straightforward way.

At the right time, organisations should be telling the hero stories, the frontline stories, the stories of the challenged and the vanquishers. Whether it’s your people at the top, or your staff messages, think about how you reveal the human behind the message. For larger, global organisations, these stories will land with your own people as reassurance, as much as with your external audiences.

“In the ‘new normal’ that we now face, brands should experiment with different formats. A video message recorded on a CEO’s webcam or phone might be exactly what is needed to get an authentic and timely message out to the world,” says Richard Wellings, Digital Content Strategist at Formative Content.

“More than ever, social must be a two-way affair. Brands should carefully plan to share employees’ stories, important third-party pieces or answer questions in a public forum.”

Look to the future

In this initial phase of the pandemic – when different countries are feeling the full impact of the virus, with many people ill and dying – your comms should be helpful and practical, authoritative but warm, demonstrating and explaining how you can help. Talk about how you are helping your people, communities or clients. If it’s not crucial or of value – why would you say it now?

If your business is struggling but you are determined to keep it going, then focus on that message in your comms. If you have devolved your team, and that is putting pressure on your internal operations, then start to tell the stories about your people and how they are responding. Explain how you are working to deliver continuity of business.

The final word goes to Hootsuite’s Head of Social, Eva Taylor: “Social media is an ideal channel for two-way engagement and plays a significant role in crisis communications.

“At times like this, fully leverage its ability to communicate with your customers, employees, and the broader community to help support each other as best as we can.”

READ MORE: 

#Coronacomms: How to be productive when everyone’s working remotely

#Coronacomms: How can you create a successful virtual event?

#Coronacomms: How can business leaders communicate with impact in this crisis?

If you would like to know more about how Formative Content has helped tell the brand stories of some of the world’s biggest B2B organisations, please email gay@formativecontent.com

About the author: Gay Flashman is the CEO and founder of Formative Content. Last year, she was named in Thrive Global’s Top Female Creatives of 2019 list. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Or if you would like to find out more about her recently published book ‘Powerful B2B Content – Using Brand Journalism to Create Compelling and Authentic Storytelling’ click here.

One in seven of the world’s population is on Instagram, with over 200 million users visiting business profiles every day – a potentially vast audience for your brand.

And with 71% of businesses now active on the platform, they’re signed up to a whole new market demographic, one that craves personalised visual content.

Some businesses are guilty of creating content for the platform that does not add value or engage the audience. What can they learn from the charitable sector?

Many charities and not-for-profit organisations have been establishing themselves on the social media site for some time – and have a lot to teach corporates in how to leverage those square tiles to deliver powerful brand messages. 

Here are five lessons:

Use people power

Research shows that images with faces in them are 38% more likely to be ‘liked’ and 32% more likely to be commented on. Instagram is a platform that rewards you for humanising your brand. Unicef, the world’s leading organisation working for children in danger, has grasped this. Take a look at some of its recent posts:

 

 

 

 

At the time of writing, these were Unicef’s most liked images from the last seven days. Unicef is using its key personnel and the children it helps, as its subjects. 

Businesses should replicate this. Use real people, strong images and human examples where you can to make your posts more relatable.

 

 

Unlock emotion

Charities know that using images and real life examples evokes emotion in the reader or audience. Follow Greenpeace and Doctors Without Borders for strong examples.

B2B companies might not be telling stories that have the same emotional resonance as those from charities, but it is still possible to find stories from your organisation that build a connection. 

Consider how you can engage your own people to share their thoughts, purpose and passion on your Instagram feed.

Think of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle. If you’ve got a product to sell, communicate either through evocative imagery or compelling captions why what you’re doing is important.

Captions are also a useful storytelling tool. Instagram allows up to 2,200 characters on its captions which is ample room to complement the imagery beside it. 

Well-written captions bring the story to life, and can act as the post’s main emotional pull if the supplied image lacks sentiment.

Use Stories

500 million people use Instagram Stories every day – and a third of the most viewed Stories are from brands. This is an area for marketers to exploit, especially as they are expected to outpace feeds in 2019.

Dogs Trust regularly posts Story content to its channel as a way to extend brand awareness even further. The charity also makes use of the highlights feature, allowing it to save past stories permanently to the top of its profile, instead of disappearing after 24 hours. Because of this, Dogs Trust can share powerful evergreen content to its followers, such as health tips and dog safety. 

50% of businesses are creating Stories every month, an interestingly low statistic given the obvious advantages.

Stories are an effective way of driving traffic to your website using the ‘swipe-up’ instruction. A strong call-to-action in an Instagram story can direct people to relevant pillar content hosted on your site.

Unleash the power of video

Video content receives 38% more engagement on Instagram than regular posts – and 2.1 times the amount of comments. 

Pencils Of Promise and The World Economic Forum are prime examples of not-for-profit organisations exhibiting quality video content across their Instagram channels. 

The accounts have high volumes of followers and specialise in posting informative, short-form videos commentating on world news and topics. 

Bearing in mind Instagram’s one-minute cap on video content, both organisations ensure that their message is conveyed clearly and concisely within the timeframe. 

The Forum’s content has caught the attention of influencers such as Leonardo DiCaprio, who has reshared many videos on environmental issues. 

Post often and keep it relevant

This isn’t as obvious as it sounds. If you’re posting to Instagram once a day, but the actual contents of your post doesn’t add value or spark joy in some way, then there’s no point. Focus on quality over quantity.

The most successful charitable Instagram accounts focus on ensuring that every post shows what they’re working towards; whether that’s a cure, global aid, rehoming animals or caring for people with disabilities. 

Even if it’s only twice a week but it’s relatable, captivating imagery, your followers will appreciate it far more and wait eagerly in anticipation of the next instalment.

READ MORE: 

How present should a CEO/CMO be on social media?

Lessons in content marketing: why your ‘why’ should come before your ‘what’

 

If you would like to know more about how Formative Content can optimise your social media strategy, please email seb.budd@formativecontent.com

About the author: Seb Budd is the Content Marketing Executive for Formative Content. He is responsible for planning, executing and driving the social media and blog content for the company. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

Updated on 27th February 2020.

It achieved over 1.5 billion downloads from the App Store and Google Play in 2019 and is more popular than LinkedIn, Twitter and Snapchat. It’s active in 155 countries around the world and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Its name is TikTok and it bills itself as the “destination for short-form mobile videos”.

But should B2B marketers be taking note? Especially following the monumental success experienced by outlets such as the World Economic Forum, who recently garnered over 3.5 billion views of one of their TikTok hashtags at this year’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

What is TikTok?

Beginning life in Asia and then launched in 2017 by ByteDance for markets outside China, TikTok is the way for primarily teens and Generation Z to engage with each other through music, dances and videos lasting between 15 and 60 seconds. 

Now though, global news organisations such as The Washington Post and NBC News have joined the platform. Consumer brands such as Burberry and Calvin Klein are on board and even sports teams such as Liverpool Football Club are using TikTok to generate content aimed at raising brand awareness amongst a younger audience, in a way that resonates with them.

The question is: how can B2B brands harness TikTok’s power? Is it just a brand awareness tool? Or is there more to it?

Scepticism

Not everybody seems to be convinced. According to some, B2B marketers were safe to ignore TikTok in 2019 and possibly forever. This is unsurprisingly down to the young audience, clique-like nature and time restrictions on message delivery.

Whilst the demographic at the moment sits in the 16-24 range, the older generation is expected to arrive in due course, as happened with Facebook. So arguably, now is the time for businesses to invest in TikTok and establish a following through expressive and compelling content that explores what makes them fun and interesting. 

Think of it in the same way many B2B businesses conduct themselves on Instagram – using the network to share captivating, cultural content. Instagram began as just a way to share pictures with friends, and now there are more than 25 million brand accounts that regularly connect with and, most crucially, sell to their audience. 

TikTok has a long way to go, though.

With its young userbase, the decision makers just aren’t there yet, so there’s not much for B2B brands to market to – and there really is no way to tell when they’ll show up. 

By the time they’re in senior level roles, will TikTok still be around? Just look at the demise of MySpace and Bebo.

There’s also a pertinent question B2B brands will have to ask themselves – do they want to create a new innovative side to the business, without jeopardising their authenticity and integrity? Do they want to completely shift their tone of voice? 

If the answer’s yes then brands have got to be willing to experiment and test new ideas fully knowing they may fail. This could put off a lot of well-established corporate players.

Waiting game

So why, then, has The Washington Post taken the gamble and joined in the first place?

Dave Jorgenson, the driving force behind the Post’s TikTok page, said: “The long-term plan has always been that we’d use this as we use any other platform. [Someday we will] post news in the way that reflects the platform. [Right now the plan is to] jump in and be part of the fun.”

Jorgenson, who primarily serves the newspaper as a producer and editor in the Creative Video team developed a seven-page proposal for his bosses – and they approved his plans. 

Clearly, The Washington Post is confident in TikTok’s future. But it does have the advantage of being able to wait a decade or so to see if it brings in readers in the future. 

TikTok is also currently in the very primitive stages of allowing brands to advertise on the platform, so this could be another route in. However, it circles back around to that key factor of who the brands would be advertising to.

It seems that, for the short term at least, TikTok might not be the best place for B2B brands to be advertising. Building brand awareness is apparently the strategy for those already there, but any selling is going to have to wait a while.

It’s likely that we won’t see a flood of B2B activity on the platform until one of the key players takes the plunge and joins the game, giving onlookers the chance to analyse their performance. Who, if anyone, will be the first to take a step into the unknown? 

READ MORE: 

4 steps to building your business a better Instagram strategy

10 common social media myths busted

 

If you would like to know more about how Formative Content can optimise your social media strategy, please email seb.budd@formativecontent.com

About the author: Seb Budd is the Social Media Executive for Formative Content. He is responsible for planning, executing and driving the social media and blog content for the company. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

 

Facebook has announced its intention to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and its Messenger app. While all three will remain as standalone apps, the services will be linked, so that you can send message across platforms.

The messaging app merger will redefine how the 2.6 billion people that collectively use these apps connect with each other.

By announcing the merger, Facebook is signalling its intention to move towards what could be called the ‘WeChat model’.

WeChat world

WeChat is a multi-purpose app developed for the Chinese market by Tencent. It has 902 million daily active users and has been described by tech publications and experts as a global ‘super-app’.

WeChat allows users to send messages, mobile payments, order car rides, order food and even operates as a social media network. It is essentially like Facebook, Uber, WhatsApp and PayPal all fused into one service.

Facebook’s move to the beginnings of a similar model makes sense from a development perspective. It gives the company greater control over its users and creates a closed system of its apps that will help it fight off competition from other messaging services.

Data fears

However, Facebook’s move to the WeChat model is likely to raise concerns about privacy and data security.

WeChat, for example, is required to share all the data that it collects from its app’s 902 million users with the Chinese government.

Concentrating control over the data of 2.6 billion users into a single organisation like Facebook – a company that has already faced government inquiries on data privacy and user information – is bound to bring even more scrutiny from regulators and politicians.

The Irish Data Protection Commission has already issued a request to Facebook for an “urgent briefing” on the proposed changes.

Facebook is still in the early stages of implementing this change, with the project estimated to be completed by late 2019 or the start of 2020.

Whether it can complete the move to the WeChat model remains to be seen.

 

If you’d like us to help you get the most out of your digital marketing in 2019, get in touch.

Enjoyed this post? Read:

2019 digital marketing trends – what the experts say

Consumer trust and digital skills will be key to business success in post-Brexit Britain

 

Chinmay Jadhav is a Content Manager at Formative Content.

Marketing has a critical role to play in driving business growth in post-Brexit Britain. But to do so effectively, the industry needs to embrace digitalization, build trust and develop its talent base. At the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Digital Summit 2018, marketers discussed the importance of the industry sitting at the heart of disruptive trends shaping business, Brexit amongst them.

 

Paving the way into new markets

As the UK sets out to trade with new international markets, a study by the CIM and PWC finds that many businesses lack the required export marketing skills and capabilities. And marketing is well placed to step into this breach, according to CIM marketing director, Gemma Butler. She pointed to the profession’s unique ability to help businesses with challenges such as adapting their strategies internationally and overcoming cultural and language barriers.

Adding to the challenges of Brexit, the industry still has to master its own digital transformation. The CIM Digital Summit brought together both ‘digital natives’ and established brands that have used digital channels to reinvent themselves and their relationships with customers.

SortedFoods is an example of the former. It was started by a group of university freshers who found their cookery skills distinctly lacking and started exchanging recipes and cookery videos on social channels.  Fast forward to today and SortedFoods is a social business with nearly 2 million subscribers. Co-founder Jamie Spafford ascribed the company’s success to its community values and focus on storytelling rather than selling – which chime with millennials’ marketing weariness.

And digital communities like SortedFoods are not alone in answering to modern consumers’ preferences. The CIM Summit showed that established organisations can also make the transition successfully. Lonely Planet’s ‘Best In Travel’ annual was designed with millennial audiences’ need for immediacy in mind, according to editorial director Tom Hall.  Instead of old-fashioned guide books – which easily become dated – Best In Travel works multiple digital platforms to place up-to-date, highly shareable content at readers’ fingertips. Last year, it reached 3 billion people and garnered 10 million video views on YouTube and Lonely Planet’s own platforms.

 

GDPR as an opportunity to build trust

But no matter how good a company is at making itself relevant to its audiences, overseas medications online goodwill can easily be shattered – not least by the impact of ‘fake reviews’. As the CIM’s James Farmer highlighted, the only bulwark against this is to have all your marketing “P’s” aligned, from a quality product to customer interactions that reassure the market that your brand deserves their trust.

Critically, this must include data protection. The Royal Mail’s Emma Fletcher suggested that brands embrace the new EU GDPR framework as an opportunity to become more relevant to their customers. They should adjust how they communicate to overcome rather than encourage consumers’ tendency to ‘opt out.’ Fletcher highlighted that combining digital and ‘offline’ methods of delivery – like traditional mail – can play an important role in personalizing brand communications to establish consumer trust.  

 

Skills still at large

While the opportunities of digital marketing are evident, some raised concerns that the profession is being held back because digital marketing knowledge is “shockingly bad.” This is how Target Internet’s Ciaran Martin summarised the findings of the latest Digital Marketing Skills Benchmark, conducted jointly with the CIM.

Across all levels of seniority, there is little understanding of digital marketing tactics – whether it’s SEO, analytics, social media or content marketing. Only email marketing is widely understood – and hence relied on heavily.  

While junior ranks have a better understanding of digital tactics, they are missing key strategic skills. The reverse is true for senior marketing roles who appear to guard their strategic knowledge.  

Dr Geraint Evans of Swansea University and recruiters Mark Lawson Jones and Huw Jones from Page Group echoed Ciaran Martin’s assessment. Senior players need to increase their understanding of the breadth of digital tactics and analytics to keep up to speed. More, the industry to invest in giving those coming through the ranks the strategic capabilities to become future leaders.

 

Marketing 2018 – a patchy landscape

Marketers are uniquely placed to help British business conquer new global markets, but the sector is missing key skills to harness digital channels for this purpose. The industry needs to embrace the latter more holistically and commit to boosting its digital nous if it wants to remain relevant in post-Brexit Britain.

 

Want to get your event trending on Twitter? Well, you’re in luck. That’s one of the things we’re good at here at Formative.

We work with clients including Tata Consultancy Services, the Varkey Foundation, the World Economic Forum and Informa, providing content and social media coverage for some of the world’s most respected events.

What’s more, we’ll share what we’ve learned from this work to help you get your event social strategy licked into shape.

Sadly, there’s no magic wand or silver bullet. There’s no easy shortcut that avoids hard work and commitment. But having a strategy and a plan — and sticking to them — can bring success. Here’s our take on how to get your event trending on Twitter, based on our experience of pulling it off time and again.

 

A recent success story

Last year we drove a phenomenal increase in Twitter activity for one client event. Across two days, overall organic Twitter engagement increased 574%, totalling 67,052 impressions. Paid-for activity generated almost 72,000 engagements more.

And of course, we got the event hashtag trending.

We were pleased. Our client was pleased. And hopefully you’re impressed. But what you really want to know is how we did it.

 

Planning and delivery

Remember that hard work we mentioned a little earlier? Well, we created nine blogs, 14 videos, and 469 tweets during the event. That’s right — during. That requires content planning, fast and accurate turnaround of work, and a team of highly-focused, talented professionals.

Well before your event, you need to pinpoint and agree what you want your team to cover, figure out where your audiences are, and decide which sections of your event are best suited to promotion on Twitter. Draft in additional staff members to tweet if you need to.

 

Prepare your hashtags

Hashtags are great for grouping, tracking, and sharing information. They are a way for comms teams to harness or drive energy and conversation around a specific event, and provide a focal point for event attendees. So decide on any hashtags you want to use and build awareness of them in the immediate run-up to the event. It’s great to have your own hashtag but make sure they are short, easy to remember, and most important of all not in use elsewhere.

There might be some you can jump on that are already in use, which is great if they’re not only relevant but have gained some traction – for instance #SDGs for the Sustainable Development Goals. Consider using multiple hashtags if you feel the event warrants it, for instance to broaden conversation and engagement, but not too many as you don’t want to dilute the impact.

 

The right team

Remember that Twitter is your first line of engagement and communication with many of your customers, clients or audiences. Whoever is tweeting needs to sound authentically part of the brand, as well as being fully conversant with your messages and any sensitivities that exist.

It can be a great idea to do some dry runs to ensure everyone is comfortable with live tweeting and feels at home with Twitter. You can always use YouTube recordings of previous events to test and rehearse. Also consider creating a document including all key Twitter handles, names etc to allow for swift and efficient cutting and pasting into tweets.

Journalistic skills are important – whether a formal or informal understanding – as is accuracy, attention to detail and speed of writing. Few things will let you down as badly as poor attention to detail and tardiness in an arena as public as Twitter. Needless to say it’s vital that your team members are adept at encapsulating potentially complex comments into 280 characters or less – while remaining mindful of the importance of @references and your #hashtag strategy. It’s a lot to juggle, but no one said doing things properly was going to be easy.

If you have a large number of speakers you might want to consider having more than one Twitter reporter – two writers can tag team, for instance, with each covering a number of speakers in any one session. That’ll reduce the likelihood of things being missed, as well as help spread the workload.

 

Tweeting off-site from elsewhere

If you can’t be at the event it’s often easy to tweet remotely if you are able to access a live video stream. But if you are using such a feed for tweeting, make sure you’re set up early to rehearse and check your links and tools – fire off a couple of ‘coming up’ tweets to check your connectivity — and ensure you have tested and practiced with whatever tool you’ve decided to use for posting, whether that be Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or Buffer, for instance.

 

Preparation: on the day

Make sure you’re clear on the identities of each of the speakers; find photographs to cross-check you are referencing the correct speaker, and double-check name spellings. If you’re on-site, ensure you’re located where you can see all speakers clearly. If you’re viewing on a live video feed ensure you are clear about the location of each speaker.

You should also think through how you can shorten commonly-used phrases, how you are referencing your groups and stakeholders and what you are happy to abbreviate. Take a look at these recent @UNDP tweets for examples:-

 

The heat of the moment

Finally, here’s a checklist to help you keep out of trouble when the pressure is on:

 

If you’d like us to help you get the most out of your social media strategy, get in touch. 

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on +44 (0) 20 7206 2687.

Enjoyed this post? Read Why your business may be losing Twitter followers

Sean Fleming is a Writer at Formative Content with extensive content marketing experience developed across a career that has encompassed advertising, marketing, PR and business journalism.

Social media is a constantly changing landscape for marketing professionals. Algorithmic updates on both Facebook and Twitter – which affect how corporates promote themselves on these platforms – show that marketers need to be aware of the wider social network opportunities available.

One of these is Instagram. Launched in 2010, this is a platform that has grown increasingly popular with brands and marketers. A big reason for this is an algorithmic change in 2016. Before this the site would show your posts in chronological order. Now the algorithm tailors your newsfeed in response to the posts users engage with; this means that the posts people like, comment on and share are more likely to be seen by a bigger audience.

At first this change was unpopular with users, but the platform now reports that people are “engaging with the community in a more active way” following the update. What this means is that Instagram offers untapped potential for brands to explore, so here are some tips to help you get started.

What to post

The difference between Instagram and other social networks is that you are not able to include links on posts, so the focus of your content is photos and videos rather than text. While it is easy to think such posts are not well suited to corporate brands, with the right strategy you can make them work for your company.

Types of content that do well on Instagram are:

Choose a theme

At first sight, your Instagram profile can seem a confusing place as it displays all your images at once; so it is important to think carefully about how your visuals work both individually and collectively. The crucial thing here is to have a posting strategy and plan what events or announcements you want to place on it and when.

Alongside this you might want to consider how background themes and reoccurring motifs in your posts can help to bolster your corporate identity on the platform. For example, (RED) uses pastel backgrounds that give all of its images a gentle brand identity while UNICEF mostly posts photos of people and children, which reinforces its emphasis on young people and families.

Hashtags

Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more user engagement on Instagram. The more that people interact with your content, the more chance your posts have of being featured on a hashtag page, which increases your potential reach.

Credit: Instagram

People who follow the hashtags will then be able to see your post, giving you the chance to reach a new audience.

Stories and Live

Instagram Stories – used by more than 300 million people a day –  are short videos or photo sequences that can provide insight into one topic. These live on the platform for 24 hours and, if you have a verified account with more than 10,000 followers, you can add links that can gain traffic, generate leads and increase sales.

The kinds of stories that brands can produce varies enormously. One method is to use them as a type of video. National Geographic, for example, uses them to tell a narrative that makes great use of wildlife and natural photography that is clearly aligned to the brand’s core identity.

Others use Instagram Stories to give behind-the-scenes views of an organization; NASA uses them for events but also to explain what employees do.

Credit: Instagram

Meanwhile, Instagram Live is a real-time streaming service that can be particularly useful for event coverage and generating a conversation with your audience. Like the stories, these are available for 24 hours after the livestream has ended.

While instagram does not follow a similar pattern to Facebook or Twitter, the potential for promoting corporate content should not be ignored. By using all the available features, and having a carefully planned posting strategy, you will be able to reach a new audience on a platform that is rapidly growing in popularity.

 

If you’d like us to help you get the most out of your social media strategy, get in touch. 

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on +44 (0) 20 7206 2687.

Enjoyed this post? Read How to curate quality social media content

Laura Nash is a Content Producer at Formative Content and specialises in digital content and writing for social media.

Today’s news that Facebook is changing its Newsfeed algorithm will undoubtedly have a major impact on those publishers, organisations and companies relying on the platform for much of their traffic, engagement or ad dollars.

In his statement, Mark Zuckerberg says that public content has been crowding out personal content on Facebook, as the volume of articles, videos and messages being created has exploded.

Facebook is now telling us they will promote on our news feeds the content with which we interact the most (especially between ourselves), rather than those messages we passively ingest. How should B2B content publishers respond to the news?

Think quality not quantity

We have, for some time, advised our clients to reduce the volume of their Facebook posts or face being ‘squeezed’ by the Facebook algorithm. Consider posting less, but make what you post of high quality. Where possible, reduce your automated posts and ‘generic’ posting.

Put audiences first

Think carefully about how you can develop content – of whatever format – that engages your target audience. Go back to the first principles of communication, i.e. What is keeping your audience awake at night, what is challenging them or concerning them? Take those issues and build content around the areas that are most likely to provoke reaction or comment.

Have a point of view

If you want to encourage dialogue then you need a point of view – what is your stand on a particular issue faced by your industry? Will your CEO get off the fence and talk about a concern or challenge to a sector? Having a strong point of view could stimulate the type of back and forth discussion that Facebook wants to see happen.

Speak with a human voice

For organisations and brands it’s even more important now that you speak with a ‘human voice’ and don’t publish bland PR information that doesn’t get any sort of response from clients. Encourage your audiences and customers to become your evangelists by developing messages that reflect the spirit and ethos of the company.

Be prepared to engage

If you start to create content that is designed to elicit discussion and debate between your followers then you will need to be more alert to those discussions, when and where they are taking place. Be ready to respond.

Develop live content

One area that the Facebook team specifically mentions that provokes more debate is live video. Live video is ridiculously easy to create and can be a straightforward way in which to engage with very niche and targeted B2B audiences.

Experiment with new approaches

The key outcome is engagement and dialogue, but that can be difficult to provoke. Consider ways in which you can encourage audiences to chat and engage with each other. This could be through carefully crafted thought leadership with a real point of view, it could be through humour or comedy, if that’s appropriate, or through responding to a piece of industry news with a live discussion or debate.

Create a strategy for Facebook groups

Groups will become a key aspect of future Facebook engagement. Consider how you can engage with key groups for your industry, sector or company using groups as well as straightforward page activity. See this great article from the team at Buffer for more insight.

Review and monitor

As never before, you should constantly review and monitor what works and what doesn’t for your audiences on Facebook. When you see that you have had success with a post, dissect what worked and why and aim to leverage that tactic again.

Broaden your engagement strategy

Finally, many of us have become dependent on Facebook for much of our organic traffic over recent years; today’s news is another reason to review your content strategy to ensure you maximise all possible platforms and routes to your audiences.

 

If you’d like us to help you get the most out of your social media strategy, get in touch. 

Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on +44 (0) 20 7206 2687.

Enjoyed this post? Read 10 ways to fill your content pipeline with quality content.

Gay Flashman - Formative

 

Gay Flashman is the CEO of Formative Content, creating corporate digital content to build reputation, brand and community for clients including the World Economic Forum, Tata Consultancy Services, the Varkey Foundation, Global Education & Skills Forum, FundForum International, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nestle.

You’ve committed to creating regular content.

You might even have a reasonably stocked content calendar.

But what happens when the content ideas run dry? How do you make sure that you’re providing consistently engaging, quality content?

Your content hub or social media channels will start to dry up if they are left uncared for too long.

Your audiences will get bored and move on.

The good news is that there is a plethora of content out there waiting for you to make use of it.

As trained journalists, we’ve spent decades hunting out stories, chasing down leads and investigating hunches. Now we do this for our clients, to help ensure that they’re bringing their most powerful stories to the fore.

Here are 10 ways you can fill your content pipeline with cut-through content for your business:

  1. Use your subject matter experts. Every organisation has people who know a lot about particular subjects. Using interview techniques, you can extract information that will be of value to your audience and turn it into compelling stories.
  2. Put your people forward. Remember that people buy from people, so it helps to show the human side of your brand by sharing the stories that involve your teams.
  3. Audit your existing content. Not sure you have ‘content’? Think again. Existing assets such as blogs, web pages, FAQs, case studies, sales brochures, whitepapers, presentations, webinars, videos, advertising and any other marketing material all count (phew!). Repurpose this content into other useful forms for your blog,  social media or turn them into infographics.
  4. Look at the numbers. Examine website data with Google Analytics. See what content is most popular, how many clicks articles get, the time spent on them, etc. This can tell you what is working on your buy real clomid site, so you can create more content that hits the mark.
  5. What are people asking you? Use the comments section on your website, the questions your customer service team is asked, the problems your client-facing staff deal with on a day-to-day basis. Find the common problems your clients are facing and solve them. This provides real value.
  6. Use your keywords. There are tools that you can use to research what people are searching for in relation to your product or service. Google’s Keyword Planner tool or Buzzsumo can be used to create content that contains specific and trending keywords. Great content that ticks the SEO box.
  7. Search on social media. Twitter is one of my favourite research tools. Run a hashtag search to find out what conversations are being had in your business area. Use those hashtags to join in the conversation.
  8. Search in other places too. Look at questions posed on Q&A sites, online forums and LinkedIn groups related to your topics. Find the themes and use them to create different forms of relevant content.
  9. Keep a close eye on the competition. Look at what your competitors are posting to determine how you can do things better or differently. You may be able to fill some gaps but remember your content still must reflect your brand values, personality and tone of voice.
  10. Curate quality content. Don’t feel that all of your content should be original and your own. Sharing good quality third-party content is a great way of adding to your content pipeline.

 

Looking for some help finding the best things to fill your content pipeline? Get in touch today: Email: office@formativecontent.com or call our team on 01494 672 122.