Duck, Duck, Goose, Share!
Reaching your audience through the crowded, non-stop virtual supermall we call Facebook, you have to continually engage and surprise them. With the right balance of traditional brand reinforcement and the spontaneous X factor, you can maintain and grow relationships with followers and secure new viewers in the land of Facebook, as well as other popular social sites such as Twitter and Instagram.
Here are four tips that can help a personal brand stay relevant and buzzworthy on social media:
1. A Brand Must Remain Consistent
While you want to keep your audience on their toes, you also need to keep a consistent tone and look in order to establish a unique brand and gain mindshare. A baseline of trust and habit must be there in order to feel connected, but to avoid boredom you must deviate from the norm on a regular basis.
2. The Duck, Duck, Goose Approach to Messaging
In order to avoid “social numbness,” you must keep people guessing by spicing up your feed with atypical content once in a while. Basically, accounts must have a duck, duck, goose approach to messaging: the “duck” being a visual style that is dictated by an internal style guide, and the “goose” being a more random, disrupting post.
3. Variation Ratio That Suits Your Brand
A proper balance of consistency and newness helps build relationships and avoid boredom. If properly balanced, this “sneak attack” technique works on multiple levels. Like any social relationship, there has to be stability, but also an element of surprise.
A standard ratio of baseline message to variation is usually around 5:1, however many lifestyle brands have been successful with 3:1. Any variation higher than 3:1 can just come across as random and a consistent brand image may be lost.
4. Variation Should Include an Element of the Original Brand
Variety in posting is important, but you don’t want to lose the essence of your brand by posting something wildly different. While many social media marketers understand how to maintain a balanced ratio, some tend to approach that X factor post with either trite content or content that is completely off-brand. The key is to “switch it up” but still contain a thread of your original brand.
Social Share Successes
In the case of RUN DMC’s Facebook page, one of the most successful posts (with more than 9,000 likes and 500-plus shares) was a hand drawn pencil sketch of the iconic group. This came after four music-related posts, one of them being promotional for an upcoming concert.
The sketch looks strikingly different from the more polished posts preceding it, lending a special magic to the post: newness. It was a refreshing change within the feed, and it was appreciated subconsciously by the audience.
Being creative and breaking out of the box never hurt, either. When leveraging Facebook’s profile picture dimensions personally, I was able to create the illusion of reaching over the confines of the photo, and literally picking my friends from their thumbnails. This type of post stimulates the natural creativity of your viewer, and is likely to be shared and gain traction.
I’ve had similar success with outrageous Instagram posts, where it appears as if I’m reaching over the border and clicking the “Like” button. That video has garnered me more than 1 million views and thousands of followers by being shared on various popular feeds such as @lolvines.
The moral of the story is make consistency the rule, but break that rule at regular intervals with surprising original content that provides variety. Your audience will thank you.