When I talk to the C-Suite, one of the questions I ask is for them to tell me what the last 3 adverts they saw on social media were about.

I then ask them to tell me what they did after they saw them - now I know this is a rhetorical question, but each and every time the answer is the same 'We can't remember the ads, so of course we did nothing'.

I then ask them 'why' they think other people would behave any different than them?

It's illogical, it's utter nonsense, yet these are the people who pre-Covid signed off ad spend budgets, paid lip service to the results in the board reports, and today are scratching their head because sales are going down the toilet without the same resource, marketing, and ad spend budgets of old.

Whilst social media platforms have been around for many years, it also seems that businesses are only just working out that shifting their 'advertise and promote' thinking into what is a 'social' environment is not cutting in.

Recent studies have documented a situation in which a little more than 10 percent of consumers who make purchases on the Internet trust advertising, while the opinion of friends from social networks for almost 80 percent is decisive when choosing an offer.

Growth of the Internet

Recent research states: (Link here)

 "Internet user numbers continue to show strong growth as well,     with our latest analysis revealing that 346 million people came online for the first time over the past year."

4.57 billion people around the world now use the internet, accounting for close to 60 percent of the world’s total population. The global total grew by 346 million over the past 12 months, equating to year-on-year growth of more than 8 percent

On average, this means that roughly 11 new users come online for the first time every second since July 2019.

Being social is not all about you, it’s about joining in with conversations, creating new conversations, looking for and involving in like minded communities, or creating communities that are aligned to your values and beliefs.

Every day the number of people who literally live on social networks is growing.

So when a key part of your focus and strategy is trying to do more of what you've always done which includes using things like e-mail to high responsive customers, 'people who bought this also bought that', 2D body measurements, remarketing campaigns and all backed up with statements that says 'We have a customer centric strategy to drive profitable digital growth' I ask myself, what's really changed?

What it really means when growing an authentic presence on social media platforms is that consumers prefer brands who produce exciting and interesting content.

It starts with getting to know your target community, and no brand for example does this better than Red Bull. They know that their audience enjoys extreme sports, and extreme displays of endurance, and their content reflects this.

So, the first question is ‘who are your target communities, and what do they enjoy?’. Find out their hopes, fears, concerns or even just what they find funny and your content will be much more successful.

Whatever you do, though, do not bombard them with marketing messages. Over the years, Red Bull have produced countless videos and articles but the stomach-ache inducing beverage that makes you bounce off the walls like a 2 year old who’s eaten too many blue Smarties that they want to sell is always in the background.

By removing the ‘advertising’ element of their content, Red Bull has developed a reputation as a top-quality content producer which, in turn, improves the public’s perception of the brand. While they might not be explicitly selling the drink, you can be certain that most people will pick up a Red Bull when they need a caffeine boost or fancy a weird-tasting soft drink.

You will also need to consider the content format your audience prefers. It’s no good producing a 2,000-word essay when the people you’re targeting would prefer a couple of sentences and a few well-selected GIFs!

The second question to ask is ‘where does your target community hangout?’

Does your community prefer Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter? Should you host on your own site, or pitch it out to an influential blogger or website? Getting to know your audience’s browsing and viewing habits will give you a significant advantage.

If you are struggling with content, get to know your audience and think about what they - or if it helps, you - would find interesting.