Thursday 13 November 2014

Connie Churcher asks 'how content can help build your social community?'

Connie Churcher: emotions and triggers that build community
What makes content shareable? The qualities or triggers are funny, sexy, shocking, moving, unbelievable/awesome, controversial, cool, illuminating or interesting, random, zeitgeist, cute, uplifting, disgusting, nostalgia.

It's about what emotions people share the most: cool, funny, up-lifting. But it's also about what these triggers can lead to. Top topics that go viral are about food, home and lifestyle.

Bear in mind that there is good viral and bad viral. Advertising doesn't often go viral. Often, it is our own lives that do. Some recent exceptions were the Old Spice campaign and Oreo. Bad viral include Habitat including #war alongside campaigns. Dapper Laughs is another example where it has come back to haunt them.

But what is this all about? Ego. Social media, as well as being a great professional sphere is also a very emotional place. When someone is sharing something they are not thinking about your brand, but more about what it says about them. People gain social validation through likes and retweets.

We speak 16,000 words a day, but much is left unsaid as we edit as we speak. A lot of inner thoughts are let out on this new medium which can lead to people being vulnerable. While 16% of adults reported better self esteem after social sharing, Thailand has issued a national health warning about adults addicted to likes.

How can sharable content help you build an engaged community? It's a simple equation:

sharing triggers + stoking the ego = user generated content (the Holy Grail)

It does the work for you with an authentic and trusted voice. Seek out and find those who are well known and trusted in a community already.

One example is the Caitlin Moran How to be a Woman campaign allowing her followers to blog on her site is a great example of amplification. 140 did and all shared to their own networks as they were validated by being on her site. But, it has to be the right area for your content.

What do you need to do these things?

  • You need time. There is a really good argument for digital marketers to be partnership managers as they build partnership and relationships online
  • Integrity, think of it as human to human. Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + all have professional associations where trust is a key factor. Something like a post with a photo and byline is more powerful. But this is less so on Facebook.
  • You need cash. Building communities on social media does take money. The time involved has a cost.
  • To build stories you need authenticity. 
  • A great title and lovely imagery also help. 
Think what you want people to do with it? The more layers you add in, the simpler it has to be for the user. Make it easy for people to share. A lot of sites are monolithic. They are developed, then left. Ideally, you need continual redevelopment. A front page that changes frequently will give a fresher, more interesting look. You also need to bear in mind that social platforms may change, evolve or fall away.

Be concise... or don't! Brevity is great and works well on certain platforms. However, long form content is pretty good too. It is shared more than short term content because there is less good long form content around.

How do you stay on top of community management? Use aggregators such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. They help save time so you don't lose your day to social media channels. Some now offer services that search on key words for you so you can push out and share relevant content from other sources. Also think about sharing evergreen content over a period at different times to see how it gets picked up.

Listening tools are very useful. If you want to news-jack stories for your content, monitor keywords rather than Google Alerts (where the story has already broken). You can also use them to identify influencers who can help with user generated content.

Don't rush to create new spaces. If you do, think about the niche you can bring. Don't do it alone. Bounce ideas off people who aren't social or digital. Make sure social planning is at the start of a campaign and planning process. Get integrated into the process sooner.

Connie Churcher is Social Media Editor at Claremont Social Communications. She spoke at the ALPSP seminar Content Marketing - using your publishing assets?

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