Astronaut Chris Hadfield has successfully returned from a 5-month mission as commander aboard the ISS and has undoubtedly inspired a generation through his unprecedented use of social media and content creation.
When reviewing the history of his busy orbital publication calendar, it became clear that there are many important lessons and reminders about social media and content development that businesses, brands, marketers and advertisers can benefit from.
Here are 7 things that stood out to me from Chris’ success on social media:
1 – Even a tweeting astronaut needs a little help from a social media team
Chris’s son, Evan, was responsible for helping his father carry on conversations, post updates, link to related content, and more.
Establishing, nurturing and engaging social media communities can be significant work and can benefit from having multiple people not only contributing to day-to-day management, but also to strategy, content ideas, creative approaches to using social media platforms, content curation, production management, and more.
2 – It’s okay to laugh a little
With relative frequency, Chris posted updates that were light and humourous.
Humour is a fantastic way to entertain an audience, demonstrate personality, add variety to your content mix, make yourself seem approachable, and attract new audience members to your community.
3 – Even if you’re in space, you should remember that your audience is on Earth
Virtually all of Chris’ social media updates satiated the appetite of average people to learn the fundamentals of what it is like to experience living in space.
Oftentimes, the best performing educational content will not be the most advanced. The reason why most people seek out information online and through social media networks is because they don’t have a deep understanding – such as formal education or vast experience – of the subject matter that is of interest to them. Therefore, they’ll benefit most from what you might consider to be fundamental.
4 – Plan ahead to optimize your production value
It is clear that some of the content Chris produced while on the ISS was pre-planned, and it showed in the production value (view Chris Hadfield’s fantastic reimagining of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” here).
Planning the creation of content affords you the ability to think about optimal production techniques and processes, refine ideas, edit for superior quality, be comfortable and confident in your performance (if applicable), assemble a team to assist you, and achieve greater production value than would otherwise be possible.
5 – Involve your community of Earthlings
Throughout his mission, Chris responded to questions, video conferenced, and encouraged his audience to engage with his content.
It seems a bit silly to say, but don’t forget that social media should be social. Businesses and brands frequently operate in a vacuum on social media, treating it more like a broadcast platform than a tool through which to interact and engage with their audiences. Be social and get your audience involved.
6 – What seems mundane to you, can be fascinating to others
Many of Chris Hatfield’s most popular social media content is of his everyday experiences in space, which proved to be fascinating.
You are an expert in your field for a reason. You have experience and knowledge that others do not possess. You probably are chalk full of information, ideas, and experiences that your audience would find fascinating for you to share, even if to you it seems mundane and relatively basic.
7 – Add value by offering a new perspective
When you think of an astronaut engaging an audience on social media from space, you probably think they’ll be focused on the stars, planets, the vastness of space, and more otherworldly things. While Chris could have published content about these things, he chose to focus much of his attention back at Earth, effectively giving us a new perspective on ourselves.
Sometimes there is huge value to offer by giving your audience a new perspective on subject matter that is familiar to them. Whether you are creating content, or refining the value proposition of your business, try not to overlook what your consumers might think they already know, and try offering them a new view on the familiar. It can be extremely powerful.
What are your most memorable moments of Chris Hadfield’s mission and activity on social media?
Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial, it would be fun to geek out with you about this.
A blog post shouldn’t just be a blog post.
Any time you put the effort into writing a blog post, you should consider how to deconstruct it into several pieces of shorter form content to feed your business’ social media content pipeline.
I’ll describe how you can do this and a few things you should consider for each social media platform here:
Facebook, Google+ & LinkedIn
Each blog post should at the very least be cross-promoted on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or whatever social media platforms your business is utilizing. Instead of just posting the title to your blog post, try also sharing a key point, or posing an interesting question to drive engagement.
A word of caution here is to not over-promote your content on these platforms. Limit your cross-promotion to a single post on each of these social media networks so you don’t come across as spamming your audiences’ timelines.
Get the most out of your blog post by also cross-promoting it on Twitter. In addition to tweeting the title of your article with a link, schedule follow-up tweets to share each of the key points, statistics, and otherwise tweet-worthy anecdotes.
The number of tweets that can be created from the contents of a blog post is dependent on how many points of value you’re able to extrapolate. The key here is to ensure that each of your tweets can stand on its own as being of value to your audience.
Pinterest might not seem at first like an obvious social media network through which to extend the value of your blog post, but there are often opportunities to share content from your blog here as well. Create images that highlight key points, lists, ideas, how-to’s, or other information from your blog post.
Similar to Twitter, the number of Pinterest pins that can be created from your blog post is reliant on how many individual points from your blog post alone can provide value to your consumers. When creating Pinterest pins, ensure that the content you will be sharing from your blog post is enhanced by the added visual element that is inherent on the platform.
Your blog posts can be reimagined as scripts or speaking points for YouTube videos. Video content can be created to touch on all of the points included on your blog, or you can create a series of shorter vignettes to engage your consumers with more bite-sized content.
Alternatively, your blog posts don’t need to be the beginning and end of a conversation. YouTube can be used to dig into certain points, provide additional context, highlight practical application, or interview others to gain their perspective on your content.
In addition to placing a huge amount of effort into creating content that will provide value to your consumers, you should also be focused on how you can get the most value from the content you create. By deconstructing your blog posts into content for your business’ other social media properties you’ll be able to extend the reach of your content by reaching different consumers on different platforms, and you’ll be able to save your social media and content marketing teams a huge amount of time creating content.
How do you deconstruct your blog content for use on other social media networks?
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Having a steady flow of engaging and valuable content is a constant challenge for most businesses and brands.
The time and effort required to produce incredible Facebook updates, powerful tweets, stunning pins, captivating videos for YouTube, and longer format blog posts is a challenge that many businesses find overwhelming.
Social media and content marketing require incredibly hard work if you are going to experience the full benefits they have to offer. That’s just a fact.
A result of businesses coming to this realization, I’ve found that many turn to content curation as their primary method of feeding their content pipelines. There’s a ton of great content being published all the time about every imaginable topic, so why not share that with your audience? Right? Well, there are drawbacks to this.
While you might assume that based on what I’ve just written I’ll be going on to preach the virtues of content creation, there are actually pros and cons to exclusively applying one approach over the other to engage your business’ audience.
Before I get to providing a recommendation about creating versus curating your business’ content, I think it’s worth exploring the pros and cons of each.
The benefits of content creation are numerous to say the least.
- The content you create is exclusively yours.
- Consumers who enjoy your content will need to come to you as the source, and return for more.
- The value you offer will be unique to your audience.
- You will be more likely to build a stronger, more loyal audience.
- You will be able to directly demonstrate your business’ knowledge, expertise and experience.
- It is possible to very specifically tailor content to your target demographic.
- The content you create can be optimized for search to give your business better search engine rankings.
- The tone, voice and personality of your business can be showcased.
- Your content can work toward addressing your business’ unique goals and objectives.
… and on.
On the flip side, there are many reasons that keep some businesses from creating their own content on an ongoing and regular basis. And these reasons are completely legitimate. Again, not a comprehensive list, but here are some of the downsides.
- Content creation can be incredibly time consuming.
- It adds an extra layer of pressure to sustain regular creation of content.
- It can take a great deal of time and dedication before your business can experience real measurable success through content marketing.
- The creation or rich multimedia content such as audio, video or still imagery can be expensive.
- Depending on the category in which your organization competes, and the nature of the content you create, you can be opening your business up to criticism.
- You are providing your audience with only a single perspective on the subject of your content.
Finding relevant content to your business, posting it to your social media channels, and engaging with your audience around other organizations’ content can be amazing for your business’ social media channels for reasons of its own.
- Content is incredibly abundant.
- It’s less time consuming to curate content than to create it.
- You can likely post with greater regularity if content is curated.
- It’s easy to offer your audience numerous perspectives on a given subject.
- Sharing other peoples’ content is inherently social; always a good thing on social media.
- There are many tools that are available to make curating content incredibly efficient.
Similar to just about anything in life that is relatively easy to do, curating content as your business’ primary method of engagement on social media has its drawbacks.
- Curated content will never be demonstrative of your capabilities, expertise or experience.
- By featuring others’ relevant content, you could inadvertently be promoting your competition.
- Your content calendar can become a bit of a slave to the content being created by others.
- Engagement with curated content can be lower than with content you’ve created by virtue of the fact that your audience could be engaging with it elsewhere.
- It might be more difficult to achieve your business objectives by solely posting curated content.
WHAT TO TAKE FROM THIS
Creating unique social media content for your business, and curating relevant content for your audience, are both valid approaches to filling your content pipeline. This said, there is no single approach that will yield the best results.
You may want to experiment with the balance of content you publish that is created by your organization versus curated. Factors that influence this ratio are likely to include the time and resources you have to put toward creating unique content, the level of organizational support you have for social media and content marketing, the value that can be gained by developing relationships with other content creators, and your business objectives to list a few.
Providing your audience with a healthy and manageable mix of uniquely created content and curated content will maximize your ability to consistently provide value to them while also demonstrating what your business is all about.
Do you find it is typically your unique content, or curated content, that your audience is most interested in?
How do you balance the content you create with the content you curate?
What keeps you from either creating your own content, or including curated content as part of your social media strategy?
It would be awesome to discuss this with you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Do you think it’s possible to create truly unique, compelling content on social media for your business or brand?
Consider this; every single day there are…
1,310,000 new blog posts published – on WordPress alone (source: wordpress.com/stats)
200,000,000 tweets (source: blog.twitter.com)
422,000,000 Facebook status updates (source: thesocialskinny.com)
50,400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube (source: thesocialskinny.com)
40,000,000 photos posted to Instagram (source: washingtonpost.com)
Needless to say, there is a glut of new content created each and every day. Even the most imaginative businesses, brands, agencies, and other professional content creators can have a difficult time finding ways to make their content stand out from the rest.
With the sheer volume of content being created every second, you really shouldn’t beat yourself up about this. Inevitably, even the content you haven’t even thought about creating yet, has probably already been produced somewhere, by someone, on one platform or another.
And if you do manage to think of something truly unique, chances are that someone is probably thinking a similar thing to you at that very moment. In fact, some of the most important thinking in history was being conceived by different people, in very different places, at virtually the same moment in time. The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, right? At virtually the same time Elisha Gray patented his design (more examples of these occurrences here and here).
How can you possibly create content on an ongoing basis that is going to be unique, that people are going to want to consume, and that you can truly feel good about?
Believe it or not, there is good news. There are actually a couple of surefire ways that you can make your content stand out, and they’re easy to apply.
Create content with your own voice, and in your own style. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. People will see through it and your content will suffer as a result. No matter how much content is being created every day that might be similar in nature to yours, you are the only you. So, exploit that as a key difference.
The experience you, your business, or brand has accrued can be another differentiator when it comes to content creation. Nobody has the same experience to draw upon, apply, and share with their audience. Use all of this to your advantage and give your content a fresh perspective – yours. Also, demonstrating your experience is proof of your capabilities and expertise, both key to any consumer making a purchase decision.
What do you think, is there such thing as truly unique content?
How do you go about applying authenticity and your experience to your content?
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
There are amazing businesses and brands producing amazing – check that – killer content every day. This post will highlight the incredible content marketing play by Oreo, Cookies vs. Cream.
What they did
Oreo tapped an insight that consumers tend love their cookies for one of two reasons; because of the crisp chocolate cookies, or because of the smooth cream filling.
Then, Oreo doubled down on the resulting creative work on mass and social media.
First, Oreo aired what was one of the more popular television spots of Super Bowl XLVII titled, ‘Whisper Fight’.
Then Oreo fueled the debate about what is better – the cookie, or cream – by releasing a series of videos on YouTube that showcase the creative lengths some will go to in order to separate Oreo cookies from the cream.
More videos can be found here.
Why it’s killer
Oreo identified a consumer insight – a consumer truth – that everyone has their own reason for loving Oreo cookies, and typically it’s because of either the chocolate cookies, or the smooth cream and created awesome content for mass and social media to support this truth. This serves as one of my favourite examples of how mass and social media can be used in tandem, and to great effect, in recent memory.
Mass media was expertly used to capture the attention of consumers and drive them online to Oreo’s various social media properties to carry on the conversation by way of various formats of incredibly creative and entertaining content, a digital consumer promotion, and follow-up mass media campaign.
Again, this is an amazing example of how mass and more traditional media continue to play an important role for businesses, even for those who are absolutely killing it on social media, which Oreo is undoubtedly doing.
What can be applied to your business?
Understand the relationship your consumers have with your product
If you truly understand the relationship your consumers have with your product or service, you’ll have greater opportunity to engage them in ways to add true value, be it by educating them, providing utility, or in this case, entertaining them.
Don’t underestimate the value of traditional media channels
You can have the most amazing social media content, an active and vibrant social media community, and a reputation that people talk about at length, but no matter how good of a job you do on social media, nothing can replace the reach and levels of awareness that can be achieved with mass media. If you want eyeballs on your amazing content, consider purchasing media to drive consumers to it.
Provide huge value to your consumers on social media
I know… I sound like a broken record, but it’s impossible to provide too much value to your consumers through social media. Oreo driving Super Bowl viewers to their social media properties only worked because they delivered the goods once people arrived on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube.
Social media needs to be 24/7, 365
Social media cannot be thought about in traditional media terms. While it might be tempting to think about Oreo’s activity as being a ‘campaign’, it really isn’t. Take a look at the amazing content Oreo cranks out every single day across their social media platforms, and it will become immediately apparent that ‘cookie vs. cream’ is simply one of Oreo’s content streams that is supported through the creation of interesting and engaging content on an ongoing basis.
What do you think of Oreo’s ‘Cookies vs. Cream’ social media content?
Have you seen any killer content recently that you’d like to share?
It would be fantastic to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial