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The Influencers

5 Ways to Make Your Branded Content Shine on Social Media

INFLUENCER: Stop approaching branded content as you would a commercial spot, writes Vox Creative's Ellie Rountree

5 Ways to Make Your Branded Content Shine on Social Media

Branded content isn’t going away anytime soon, and it’s only growing across social media.

According to Tubular Labs, there are currently more than 200k branded content video campaigns being shared across Facebook and YouTube alone. That doesn’t take into account other social distribution avenues like Instagram and Twitter, as well as campaigns that don’t include video. Brands are smartly exploring ways to reach new audiences, but unlocking the unique puzzle that is branded content on social is still evolving. Despite the massive growth of branded content on social media, many brands still don’t approach these vast distribution networks differently than a commercial spot. That needs to change.

Here are a few 'rules' you can keep in mind for your next branded content campaign on social media.

1) Context is Key 

Who will see your content on social, and how? You want to create something that’s easily viewable, shareable, and informs the viewer - but doesn’t feel so out of left field that they wonder 'what did I just see?'. During the planning stages of creating the content and social media plan, you should have a clear idea of where the content should live, and tailor it accordingly to a social audience. That way, it will make sense wherever and whenever it’s seen. You can only control the distribution so much, so keep this fact in mind. 

2) Respect Your Audience 

If you have an established audience, they most likely have a unique set of social habits. When planning and scheduling social posts, follow their community norms. Going against or not respecting their culture will quickly alienate viewers, and turn them against you. For example, if you only post on social once a day, you should follow that cadence, otherwise you might have an advertising upheaval on your hands. Respecting the audience is key here, and do your research into what will work with them. 

3) Use Paid Social to Your Advantage 

Even with a few hundred dollars, you can make your branded content go much further. Whether publishing on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or Apple News (just to name a few) there’s a wealth of data and information at your fingertips. Now’s the time to use it to your advantage. There are hundreds of millions of potential viewers out there who might be interested in what story you’re telling them, and you should work this fact into your overall distribution strategy. 

4) Don’t Be Too Brand-y 

One of the biggest turn-offs on social (and anywhere, really) is overtly pushing your brand by using cheesy titles, hashtags, or other brand-y lingo. Be authentic in your messaging, and the audiences will take your content more seriously. All too often brand marketing teams want to get their very specific messaging woven into titles or captions on social, which makes the content feel inauthentic. Viewers are smart and crave real conversations and messaging.  

5) Use Tent Poles and Cultural Happenings to Align with Your Campaign

Online, every day is a celebration in some way. When planning your social branded content strategy, keep this in mind. Can you use current social momentum to your advantage and participate in a conversation online with your message or content? This will help give your social campaign a little extra boost and might even help catapult it into the larger online conversation. 

Ellie Rountree is engagement editor for Vox Creative, Vox Media's branded content studio

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