I’ve had the opportunity to work on social strategy with some of the biggest consumer brands in the world (Nike, Beats by Dre, RedBull, Levis, etc.). I’ve noticed a trend over the past few years - as brands grow, they inherently push more and more high-production, perfectly photo-shopped, sterile content. Maybe this is just the natural progression of brand growth? The problem, and hence my rant, arises when the content being shared becomes inherently anti-social.
Perhaps interaction rather than beauty should be the primary focus - who cares if you have 10M followers if none of them listen or participate with your brand. When outbound content reaches a certain level of polish, the authenticity of the messaging seems to be lost. The same thing holds true for overly clever copy. It shrouds messages in “cool kid speak” and neglects the masses (that’s not very social). Beautiful images with thousands of dollars of post work, draped in meaningless copy, are hard for the average person to relate to.
I understand that there’s a bit of a catch 22. I’m not advocating that big brands regurgitate crappy images and copy on their social channels, but rather step-back and observe what their communities are sharing. Out-bound brand content should evoke emotion, make followers want to participate, feel real, feel social. I get tired of seeing these over-worked, cut and polished images accompanied by mysterious copy that sounds cool but means nothing. Give the people some clean, original content paired with a clear message - you may be surprised how far simplicity and authenticity goes.
Protecting a brand while blending into the community is no easy feat. It all boils down to a very delicate balance of relevant content and authenticity. Be honest, be real, and stop over thinking every single little detail - after all, it’s social media, make it fun.