I’ll be the first one to tell you that social media marketing shouldn’t be your only strategy for building your business.
In my professional opinion, social media should be a finger on the hand of a larger marketing communications strategy. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can get away with a below-average presence on your social media platforms.
With an overabundance of professionals claiming to be social media marketing “gurus,” and organizations neglecting the importance of taking their digital presences to the next level, we’ve entered into the social media custom content crisis. Why? Because so few businesses are harnessing the power of custom content in their efforts.
Let’s explore what custom content actually is, why you need it and how you can use it:
Custom Content vs. Regurgitation
Imagine the difference between a delicious, chef-prepared-from-scratch meal and a TV dinner that’s been sitting in your freezer for a couple of weeks. That’s the difference between custom content and regurgitation.
It seems that most “social media marketing gurus” and businesses default to pulling out “TV dinners” when it comes time to scheduling content. This includes reusing graphics that were created by others and passing them off to their audiences as if they were the ones who birthed them. Trust me, your audience isn’t stupid–they know the difference.
Custom content is the love child of marketing research, photography/videography and graphic design. What do I mean by that? Check out the below graphic featured on the Coca-Cola Facebook Page. It demonstrates photography paired with graphic design elements (simple ones like typography).
I constantly refer to Coca-Cola in the social media custom content conversation because they nail it–and I mean nail it–each and every time. They’re constantly cultivating graphics, videos and photos that stand out and keep you coming back for more.
And they also know how to crowdsource a hilarious photo when necessary.
Why You Need Custom Content
Based on the examples showcased above, you might already know why you need to start cultivating your collection of custom content campaigns.
On a strategic level, there are three primary reasons to invest in this.
The first is simply because this gives you the flexibility to fulfill what you know about your audience. Research informs you what your audiences wants to see and how they want it delivered. Custom content allows you to create that content specific to your insights.
Secondly, you can easily integrate your overall marketing communications campaigns into the social media realm. All it takes is refining your approach into social media and customizing it, again, according to your research insights.
Lastly, opening the floor to custom content creation allows you to truly flex your creative muscles. The awesomeness of your content is only limited to your imagination.
But… I Don’t Have a Budget for This…
I beg to differ.
Many businesses already have marketing and public relations departments with dedicated photographers/videographers and designers. In these contexts, all it takes is putting together the specific team and assigning a project manager to tie it together–usually your social media manager.
For smaller businesses with limited resources, invest a little more in your designated social media person. Or, it might be time to hire a boutique agency that fits within your budget and can take the burden off of your hands.
Finding the Balance
All this being said, it’s OK to use a little bit of reused material every here and there.
It’s important to find the right balance of custom content and regurgitation that suits your audience, your goals and your budget. You might also discover that there really is no classy way to share a current news article with a custom graphic. Sometimes–and only sometimes–you have to reuse what’s already been done, but just make sure you credit those images to their owners.
Has your brand used custom content? If not, what’s stopping you?