Another great cartoon from marketoonist Tom Fishburne illustrates the problem with many brands' social media activity. This content often arrives in your newsfeed like an unwelcome gatecrasher at a party.
As Tom says following a trip to facebook's HQ, "When your brand message sits in someone’s news feed between a friend’s birth announcement and another friend’s wedding pictures, your brand message had better be worth it."
Tom suggests brands need to give more thought to the content they are posting, as a lot of content is just re-purposed advertising messages. And while I agree with this, I suggest a more fundamental question for lots of brands might be, "Why on earth are you posting content at all?"
For many brands, such as the Subway brand used in the cartoon, they probably have a limited amount of interesting stuff to say. Would I want to watch a Subway Sandwich TV station, or read a Subway Sandwich Magazine. No. So why would I want to read posts from a Subway facebook page? (Although for some reason 23 million people do that.
In contrast, if your brand is naturally entertaining and content-rich, then you have a better chance of creating interesting social media content. In my case, I follow my favourite rugby team (Harlequins) and my favourite car brand (Aston Martin) in addition to Marketing magazine for work stuff. I use a lot of Hellman's mayo, Heinz ketchup and Flora margarine, but my interest in any social media content from these brands is a big fat zero.
I posted on a common sense approach to digital media from Jon Goldstone, UK VP of Marketing for Unilever. He commented on how the approach Unilever took had been adapted by brand, based on learning from lots of testing and experimentation:
Magnum: mobile works best, the approach can vary based on weather/temperature and vicinity to a store
Knorr: online recipe search
Marmite and Ben & Jerry's: Facebook is effective as the brands are more about entertainment
In conclusion, have a look at your brand and ask yourself if the social media content enters peoples' newsfeed as a welcome guest, or as an annoying gatecrasher. If the answer is the latter, then ask a second question. Do I need to improve my content, or do I need to stop going trying to gatecrash social media altogether?