This is the year to show social media that your brand means business. Until now, you might have opted for a somewhat conservative social media strategy, restrained by the fear of either upsetting people or not getting a decent return on investment.

Enough is enough. It’s time to be bold with your social strategy and take the odd risk. Why not post content unrelated to your brand? Try out a new channel? Have an opinion? The time is nigh.

Bold

It’s all in the name of engaging users who are considering taking some time out from social media.

More than a third of UK internet users are deciding to take “digital detox” breaks from the web, as per Ofcom research from last year. Nothing you say or post will be able to convince them otherwise, of course, but what the figures do tell us is that users are becoming more discerning over what and how much content they’re consuming online.

It really is time to do things a little differently in 2017 or you risk being classified as ‘noise’. The Drum highlights five ways marketers should be adapting their strategies this year:

1. Ditch content calendars

A controversial one to start off with. The industry has been advocating content calendars for as long as I can remember, but it’s now suggesting they make for lacklustre content. The argument is that content calendars inevitably result in content based on arbitrary events which may not even really apply to your industry or be of interest to your audience.

While it’ll always be important to plan your content, you should do so on your terms, rather than trying to centre it around topical issues all the time – everybody is doing that, so you’re narrowing the chances of your content being seen going down this route.

2. See the bigger picture

Focussing on one or two channels for your marketing campaign will curb your reach. Now, we’re not saying that you should be active on every possible channel, but at the same time, it’s important you don’t ignore a prosperous avenue for your content.

So, for example, if you’ve got the budget to do a TV campaign, it makes sense to use YouTube, Facebook and other online video platforms to extend reach to lighter TV viewers. It’s all about seeing the bigger picture.

3. Adapt content to platforms

While there is such a thing as cross-platform content, your content will invariably have to be adapted for each different platform it goes out on.

With a TV advert, for example, you can afford to ‘set the scene’ somewhat, with viewers sat back on their sofa waiting for a show to commence. When they’re viewing videos online, however, you need to grab their attention much quicker as it’s easier to skip past your content. So, if you don’t adapt your content accordingly, there’s no point in it being on the platform.

4. Only measure the good stuff

If you’re still measuring likes, comments or shares, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Of course it’s nice to see that your content is enjoying healthy numbers of likes or whatever, but they’re essentially ‘vanity’ measures; they are disconnected from any business results.

Vanity metrics

Reach figures and watch times are more relevant measures of how successful you are with your content. Also, nothing beats good old brand and sales research to determine the success of your content.

5. Embrace dark social

Yes, dark social (sharing by email, message or mobile app) is a nightmare to measure, but if that’s how people want to share your content – out of the gaze of the public eye – then so be it.

According to a RadiumOne research study, 84% of social sharing happens via dark social platforms. However, 90% of social marketing investment is on public platforms – making dark social a potential area of opportunity for marketers.

It’s time, then, to embrace dark social. Get savvy about the steps you can take to track sharing in dark social channels (shortened URLs etc.) and you won’t resent it quite so much, trust us.

Taking a new approach is a bit scary regardless of the endeavour, but playing it safe and sticking to what you know is a risk in itself remember.

Risk

After all, the best strategies involve a few risks, backed up by tried-and-tested methods. At least we think so…

Ben Hollom

February 3, 2017