Last week marked both International Day of Happiness and, for people in the United States, National Puppy Day. How did you celebrate them?

No, really. We’re not saying you should have gone out and bought a celebratory cake, or indeed a puppy, but you should have at least celebrated them in your own, brand-relevant way.

For commemorative days like these are perfect for marketers to piggyback on and create some top drawer content. It’s an opportunity that really shouldn’t be sniffed at – especially given how hard marketers are finding it to stand out on social media.

In a study by Ascend2, 40% of digital marketers cited social media as the “most difficult” channel to master. Then, when asked what the most difficult tactic for social media marketing purposes was, more than two-thirds (69%) cited ‘creating compelling content’.

The Content Marketing Institute suggests the key to creating compelling content lies in your ability to humanise your brand… Here’s what it means by that:

1. Drop the sales pitch

It’s hard to warm to somebody when you sense they’ve got a vested interest in talking to you. So drop the sales pitch when you’re using social media – nobody will want to engage with you if all you’re doing is trying to push your products or services.

A great way to ensure that you’re not being too promotional is by making your content about something else entirely. That’s why we think you should celebrate holidays as and when they come along, with them acting as a prism through which to create content that your audience will love.

The trick is to get to know your audience and identify which holidays and commemorative days matter to them (even if they don’t really know it yet) – the more obscure and niche the holidays, the better.

The promotional element comes in the design of content and ensuring that your audience can identify it as having come from your brand.

2. Make the most of events

Oh, it’s the tenth anniversary of your brand, is it? For most of your audience, this is likely to be the response:

If you want to make people care about an event, you’ve got to do more than just announce it. Create great content prior, during and after it. Team it up with a promotion. Force your customers to take notice and engage with the event.

The event itself can be fairly trivial – it’s the content that surrounds it that matters most, in many cases.

3. Get on board with trends

The viral video of the last couple of weeks has to be the one where the professor ends up having his interview with the BBC gatecrashed by his own children. You know the one:

Anyway, we mention it because it’s the sort of video that would get the parody treatment from a brand. It probably already has, truth be known.

The best brands on social media are always looking for opportunities to become part of the social conversation, and viral videos and trends are a great way of doing so.

However, only certain types of brands can realistically expect to jump on trending topics – those which can move quickly and genuinely surprise their audience with the quality of their trend-friendly content.

Slow moving brands need not bother. There would be no point in creating a parody video of that one above now, for instance, as the moment has already passed. Your trend-led content has got to be almost immediate and prompt a reaction (not an eye roll), if it’s to prove a winner. Get it right, though, and it could prove a very sweet victory indeed.

We hope these tips help you get back out into the world of social media with a renewed vigour and purpose. It’s true that getting some decent attention via the channel is proving hard going for some. But if you can show users that you’re more than just that toilet paper brand, say, you might just be on to something…

If a toilet paper brand can create compelling content that proves a hit on social media, anybody can. It’s all about embracing the things that make you, you, and applying that authentic voice to the events, trends and holidays that are relevant to your brand.

Share this post on Twitter: