“If you weren’t lucky enough to get promoted by Twitter itself (like, say, Yves St. Laurent), it’s going to be very hard to build a following. And even if you are YSL, most of the followers you got from being on Twitter’s recommended list are dead wood. They won’t actually help you spread the word,” writes the Atlantic’s senior editor, Alexis Madrigal, in a recent article. This problem sound vaguely familiar? There’s no question that it’s tough today to differentiate your brand from the sea of others who are just like you. Yet despite the difficulty, there is some good news: it’s time for brands to find and cultivate their obsessions.
Madrigal points out that what most brands fail to grasp when it comes to social media is that you have to first focus on building out the channel itself. It’s only after you’ve accomplished this, that brands can successfully advertise through it. Take for example, a magazine. Their end goal is to get people to want to purchase ads inside it to sell stuff. This is only done, though, after time is spent time constructing and developing out the magazine itself. The content, the voice, what they want to be associated with, etc… The same can be applied to social media. “Lifestyle brands can’t just promote their sales and send out coupon codes and retweet when people say nice things about them. Instead, they need to treat their social media presence as a kind of retail space, where they include the 10 or so things that their brand is supposed to mean or be associated with,” says Madrigal.
Obsess Over Your Brand’s Obsessions
One of the best ways to break away from the pack is to find and focus on your brand’s obsessions. Take a look at Pabst Blue Ribbon (@pabstblueribbon), or Taco Bell’s (@TacoBell) Twitter feeds. They both have done a great job of finding and promoting their brand’s obsessions. If you look at Pabst’s Twitter feed for example, you won’t only see posts about beer and community shootouts. You’ll also see posts about summer rooftops, bands, bike, tattooed girls playing basketball, skateboards, mustaches, beards, surfing, breakfast burritos – you get the idea. Madrigal points out that “The feed runner has developed a voice in which it makes sense for him or her to tweet, ‘Just got resurrected by a breakfast burrito.’ It’s all about saying: ‘This brand knows how you live. This brand gets you. This brand, too, appreciates a breakfast burrito when it is hungover.’”
Sure you might think, it’s easy for a brand like PBR to pull this off, but it would be much tougher for an upscale brand with an older target audience. It really isn’t. It boils down to figuring out what your brand is all about then go out and make it so. It won’t happen overnight, but if you are consistent and troll the internet for the 5 to 10 themes that your brand embodies and then post the most interesting stuff from it, you’ll see that you’re obsessions will help separate you from the sea of others on social media. It’s only after “you’ve established this deep emotional connection with your ever-growing social media audience” you can “cram all the promotional stuff through the channel and hope that people connect with it,” writes Madrigal.
So my advice to you is to obsess over your brand’s obsessions and you’ll be reaping the rewards.