Social media is getting a lot more spontaneous – even for businesses. Instead of the heavily commercial, stylized and curated marketing of the past, this means creating content that softens your brand tone and creates community on platforms like TikTok, BeReal and Instagram. But don't see it as an easy alternative – being casual still takes effort. Here's how to figure out if it's right for you and how to get it right if so. 

Is it right for you?

Before you hand the reins of your accounts over to a Gen Z team member, take a step back and figure out if a more casual approach to social is right for your brand. Kendall Dickieson, a social media manager, recommends asking yourself these questions first. 

• Find your why. What are your goals for this platform, what do you want to achieve and does it support your brand's main goals? You need to have these things outlined to guide the creation of your online presence on these platforms. 

• Consider distribution. Is the platform a right fit for your kind of business and the kind of content you want to create? What audience will this platform open you up to and are they the right market?

• What about your audience? You need to understand who your audience are and whether this kind of content would make sense for them. On the other hand, will this content attract the kind of audience you want to expand to? It goes both ways.  

• Consider your social strategy. You need to approach any new platform and direction as part of your entire social media content strategy. Do you have the time to devote to another platform and does it fit in with your other strategies?

All about the content

‘There are two kinds of content you can create: proactive and reactive content,’ says Hailey Brooke Weiss, founder of digital firm Power Move Marketing.

Proactive content is content that shows the story from your company's perspective. For example, this TikTok from olive oil brand Graza plays on a trending sound to highlight its two product options. Reactive content involves responding to content that says something about your company's services or work culture, like this content marketing company's TikTok response to influencer and virtual restaurant founder MrBeast's request for business pitches.

The content you shoot will also depend on the platform.

‘When it comes to BeReal, you can really only show behind the scenes,’ Kendall weighs in. ‘When it comes to TikTok, it naturally depends on the brand and [its] resources. For example, most food brands focus on behind the scenes, recipes, entertaining skits, education around certain ingredients and showing the team behind it all.’

Up close and personal

The key to this kind of content is showing the brand's personality. Amani Youssef, the creative director of So Social, a marketing agency, says the brand created its TikTok account to have more fun and showcase its work culture. ‘We showcase our personalities and just have a laugh – it's not a place for us to present all of our work or advertise our services,’ she says. 

Start by creating content pillars – these will vary by brand, but they could be entertainment, educational, trend or inspirational. ‘You want each content to fall into one of those categories, [which] you'd have outlined from the start.’ says Kendall. ‘If your content doesn't fall into a content pillar, it probably isn't strong enough to be posted.’

One person, ideally the social media marketer, should be in charge of the content and then they involve the entire team. ‘That's a better way of doing it because, if multiple people are randomly posting on TikTok, it's inconsistent and the message will be different,’ says Amani. 

Measure your results

This style of social media marketing might not seem effective for generating leads on the surface, but it's a good way to get customers authentically drawn to a company. 

‘All the inquiries we get lead to proper leads for us. People [who] see [that] type of content really want similar content created for their own brands,’ Amani says. ‘So, there's been many occasions where a TikTok lead becomes an ongoing loyal client for us. This platform has acted like sort of a portfolio for our company, showcasing what we can do for our clients.’

‘However, the measure of results will be different for each brand,’ says Hailey. ‘Depending on your brand, your goal can be awareness or sales. For awareness, you'll look at followers, impressions and reach. But, for sales, you'll have to measure the conversions led by social media.’

A version of this article was published in the Courier Weekly newsletter. For more useful stories, tips, tricks and simply good advice, sign up here.

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