Finding Social Inspiration: Using Beacon Brands to Build Your Content Strategy

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Now that you have a social media strategy template telling you when to post and on what platform, it’s time to fill in the posts. That calls for a content strategy. A well rounded content strategy is more than just slapping a post on Facebook or Twitter — it covers every action you do on social channels.

Once you become familiar with social media strategy, templates will often recommend you look to “Beacon Brands” for your inspiration. A beacon brand is one that, through their entire corporate presence, reflects the aspirations and goals of their consumers. It’s hard work to become a beacon brand, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But as you’re starting out, you can look to these beacon brands to guide your content strategy.

Overall Strategy

No surprise here, but Starbucks, with their loyal following and seemingly unending marketing budgets,  has a content strategy newbie brands can learn a lot from. With presences on many platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram to name a few), Starbucks fully commits to every platform they are on.Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 9.31.43 AM

What You Can Learn:
While they may begin with a social media strategy template, each strategy is optimized to the unique benefits of each platform. Starbucks likely uses editorial calendars for each specific channel. There is a heavier workload upfront, but the results will be exponentially more rewarding.

Tactics to Emulate:

  • Treat each platform as a unique channel.
  • Don’t activate on a channel unless you’re ready and able to be there continuously with fresh and interesting content.
  • Avoid the one-strategy-fits all mentality when it comes to content. The content you post to Facebook probably won’t be relevant on Instagram or LinkedIn.

Content & Engagement
Clif Bar uses content across all it’s properties to drive engagement and bring fans into the Clif Bar lifestyle. On Facebook and Twitter, Clif Bar uses questions about fan preferences, brand trivia and time-relevant content to keep fans talking. On Instagram, Clif Bar uses fan-submitted photos to bring their bars out of stores and pantries and into the hikes, cycling, running, skiing, yoga and other activities the brand wants to be associated with.

What You Can Learn:
Brands should always look for ways to further engage with fans (that’s the social part of social media). Not only does it humanize your brand, it helps keep your posts present in news feeds (which for Facebook and Twitter are major areas for fans to see your content). Creating opportunities to further engage with your fans will help build the loyal following brands strive for on social media.

Tactics to Emulate:

  • Build engagement into your content strategy. Add questions, this/that statements, and fill in the blank opportunities into your editorial calendar. Consider using fan-submitted content if possible.
  • Create a list of appropriate responses that can be used in case of customer service issues. Do your best to respond in a timely manner, and always offer to take the conversation offline via phone or email.
  • Be there. There is no substitute to having real time conversations with your fans (which helps keep content fresh in the ever-vital newsfeeds). Setting up push notifications on Twitter and Instagram is easy in the the respective Settings area and downloading Facebook’s Page Manager App (Android and iOS compatible) will help keep you alert to Facebook. On Pinterest and LinkedIn, email notifications are the way to go.

What brands are you finding social inspiration in? Let us know in the comments!

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