It’s date night, whether with a significant other or yourself, and you’ve decided to head out to the newest establishment in the city. You settle in, excited to pick and order dishes that call out to you. However, when the food arrives, it’s not what you chose nor is it served in an order that makes sense.
Baffled by the service received, you immediately leave, feeling wholly unsatisfied. You vow to never return and instead, spread the word to avoid the restaurant. Eventually, sales plummet and the business has to close.
What went wrong?
Every day, millions upon millions of social media content is being created and shared, whether by individuals or businesses. And with the average person spending 147 minutes on social media platforms per day, they are consuming a large, albeit selective, portion of content.
In order to stand out in a sea of monotonous scrolling, your content needs to be developed with a solid strategy in mind, keeping the context front and centre.
Context can cover a whole variety of elements, but some of these can include audience characteristics such as age, behaviours, location, as well post timings and content type. The content you post should always fit your context, and at large, your social media marketing strategy. Falling into the trap of posting content with no adherence to context can land you in an unfavourable position of low reach, low engagement, and ultimately, low sales.
If you’re keen on conquering social media and ensuring your content is optimised, here are 3 key contexts you need to address. Read on.
Fit A Purpose
You’re scrolling on Tiktok, trying to gauge what other food businesses are posting and see Taco Bell have consistently gone viral for seemingly random pieces of entertaining content. However, although they may seem random and not quite ‘professional’, they do an amazing job at understanding their consumer base and encapsulating that into the content they post. In their case, their target audience is Gen Z’rs, a group that predominantly prefers relatable and down-to-earth content. Hence, continuously posting entertaining content works exceptionally well for the food brand.
Overall, the content you decide to implement on social media should follow a set strategy, one that emulates the brand’s persona perfectly. On an individual level, each piece of content must fall into at least 1 of the 5 particular categories/purposes: providing a sense of connection, facilitating conversation, sharing entertainment, education and inspiration.
Having a balance of different post purposes is a surefire way of ensuring your audience is completely catered to. Take a hairdresser as an example. They could share inspiration in the form of the latest hair trends and unique colours that have been achieved in-salon, entertaining content as trending dances on social media platforms and education by talking about how to use their products sold in-salon. The possibilities are endless!
Although posting content that fits into at least one of the above categories is vital, it would all be for naught if you did not understand your audience first and foremost.
Each brand, depending on its image and strategy employed, attracts a particular audience type with a particular set of demographics and psychographics. This information can include age, location of residence, gender, attitudes, interests, values and more.
For example, if a cat food company decided to share entertaining content but the main subject in the clip was a dog, chances are, the post is not going to do well. Why, you ask? A brand that is so heavily aligned with a particular audience (in this case, cat owners or at least cat lovers) would be more so inclined to engage with content that was about cats.
When attempting to attract your target audience, although you can choose to take a broader approach, narrowing sensibly can often do better. Remember, social media is already quite saturated with content from all corners of the world. For your content to show up on your target audience’s socials, it is vital you choose to focus on at least a few aspects each from demographics and psychographics. A helpful tool to really get in the shoes of your consumers can be to create a customer persona.
Beating the Algorithm
With all that said and done, the final element to consider for context is the algorithm itself. As a no-brainer, certain content types do better on certain platforms.
Instagram is an interesting platform in which it started off as a predominantly photo-sharing app, where one could post their heavily-filtered, questionable-fashioned content for the world to see. However, with the onset of COVID-19 came the shift to short-form video content, such as that found on Tiktok, thus birthing the creation and push of Reels. That is not to say photo content is no longer relevant. They will always be key to Instagram, however, one needs to recognise if they aim to optimise growth, then one has to adapt to the algorithm.
Now back to our lovely restaurant…
The owner has learnt of what transpired and has also read the information discussed above. He now realises his mistake. He had failed to communicate the food was prepared by Michelin Star chefs as well as the experimental nature of the restaurant, where customers would receive a randomised order, designed to be an adventurous experience.
Going forward, he will first conduct an analysis of his preferred audience and understand them thoroughly. He will then create a social media strategy and aim to post content that falls into at least a few of the aforementioned categories.
If he can do it, so can you!
Take charge of your social media game and implement content with the three components of context as mentioned above (purpose, audience statistics and the algorithm). It may seem daunting at first, but remember, slow and steady steps can ensure the longevity, relevancy and appropriateness of your content, ultimately leading to increased sales and audience engagement.
As a guide, start by sitting down and really thinking, “What do I want MY social media to achieve?” Once you have the answer to that, follow the above points and see the magic happen!
Till next time.
Written by Jaweria Saeed (BCom student and Social Media Manager at On Point Social)