Get Your Content in Formation
4 things Queen Bey can teach us about social media and life in general
“Ya’ll haters corny with that meaningless content mess”
-Beyoncé, if she were a marketer instead of an artist sent from the heavens above.
Let’s get real — managing a brand’s social media and public perception is no easy feat. As a social media pro, you’re well aware that there is a vast, unknown and uncontrolled world just beyond our fingertips that never stops producing content. Luckily, we’ve all been blessed with Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter to guide us through the treacherous abyss called social media. With over 100 million records sold as a solo artist, 20 Grammys, countless sold out tours and billions of followers across social media, Beyoncé knows how to build (and continuously grow) a brand and empire.
- Relevance pays off, big time.
We’re all tempted to take advantage of trending topics and hashtags that could somehow tie to our brand. While Social Media Managers around the world wait anxiously for the trending topic list on Twitter to refresh, let’s all remember one small tip: Think before you post and use social listening.
“They do say imitation is the best form of flattery. Maybe Beyoncé is so Crazy In Love with our brand, she made her own.”
You do not poke the BeyHive, Beyoncé’s legion of fans. Lululemon’s big mistake was recognized immediately after it was published.
Think. Before. You. Post. If Lululemon would have used social listening to gauge #IvyPark audience, they could have avoided being stung, badly.
If anyone has a knack for relevance combined with social listening, it’s Queen Bey. The surprise release of her pro-feminism, pro-black song and video Formation in February 2016 was immediately followed up by a donation to the newsworthy Black Lives Matter Movement made by her husband’s company, Tidal. Only one day later, her tour announcement immediately followed her Super Bowl 50 halftime performance. In a time where police brutality, race relations and feminism are on-going conversations flooding social and mainstream media, Beyoncé took to her worldwide platform to address a topic that is important to a significant portion of her fans. Subsequently she hit the nail on the head with the single Formation, only to follow up with her 13-track visual album, Lemonade in April 2016.
How do you find a balance comparable to how Beyoncé juggles her life as an entertainer, a wife and the mother of Blue Ivy? It’s simple: Research your audience, figure out what is relevant to them.
Research is the cornerstone of all good content. If you’re not producing relevant content for your audience, what is the point of having content at all? Taking time to research and listen to your current/potential followers allows you to develop content they’re interested in (plus content that will not make the same mistake as Lulu Lemon). What you produce may not be about top ten trend worldwide, but if it’s content customers will be interested in, you’re headed to the top, just like #Lemonade.
2. Valuable content over quantity
Social media never stops moving. The question is: Do you post quickly produced content to keep up with the hamster wheel or take your time making less frequent, high quality content?
Again, Bey has our back. The BeyHive waited for almost three years between the 5th album Beyoncé in late-2013 and Lemonade, released mid-2016. Despite the (what seems like decade) time between albums, both did remarkably well, earning critically acclaimed reviews. While spacing out content by years is ineffective for most social media strategies, the point is to create something strong that you are proud of rather than something that is weak and fades into the background quicker than it was produced.
Quality over quantity doesn’t just extend to Beyonce’s music. Her Instagram proves well-curated content creates interest and leaves us wanting more. With only a few well-anticipated social media and website updates a month, Beyoncé quickly rose to the 5th most followed person on Instagram.
We’re not all Beyoncé, so we need a posting strategy inspired by the queen, but tweaked to fit our brand personality and audience. Make your content quality by:
- Having posts that coincide with events or news, much like Beyoncé did with her tour announcement following her Super Bowl performance or her 9th tweet announcing her new album, Lemonade, that followed her hour-long HBO Special that exclusively premiered the visuals for her new album.
- Make it interesting, the same ol’ posts get boring, quickly. Change it up.
- Make it well-produced, we’re not just Social Media Marketers, we’re word wizards.
- Don’t post just to post, self-explanatory.
3. Stay true to your brand
Branding doesn’t only affect social media marketing, but all marketing, advertising and public relations in general. Before creating any post, billboard or press release, ask yourself: Does this content align with the brand?
Beyoncé has always branded herself as pioneer for social change, but Lemonade solidified her stance on women empowerment and systematic racism affecting black communities. The lead single from the album, Formation, celebrated her race by proclaiming, “I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros. I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”. The day after the single and video were released; she performed alongside Coldplay and Bruno Mars at Super Bowl 50 with all of her female, black dancers dressed as Black Panthers and herself in an outfit remonstrant of one worn by the late Michael Jackson. The world lost it — some in celebration and some in anger.
When you have a brand like Beyoncé, you stay true to it, regardless of the pressures to morph into something you’re not or the backlash you may face. Don’t sell out for the retweets, link clicks or sales. Focus on finding your brand’s style, tone and purpose and create content out of who you are, not what people want you to be. Developing a brand persona will help you attract people who feel similarly and trust the brand, building brand loyalty over time. Who would trust someone who flip flops on their messaging?
Social media, no matter what management software or new technique is invented, is a marketing tool that requires strategy, social listening, research and quality content in order to be successful.
Dream it, work hard and grind until you own it. Don’t become discouraged when an influencer falls through or a post doesn’t receive the engagement numbers you were hoping for. Like all things, social strategy doesn’t flourish in one day. Not even Beyoncé’s empire did. It’s about trial and error, finding your niche and engaging with your followers. Good content along with persistence, patience and positivity has the ability to turn any strategy into a masterpiece with longevity like Queen Bey’s career.
Be relevant, produce valuable content, stay true to your brand and, of course, slay.
Okay, marketers. Go get your content in formation.
“Always stay gracious, best revenge is your link clicks”
-Our social media marketing maven, Beyoncé
Charmaine Riley is a Social Strategist at Oblong Pixel, a digital marketing agency based in Seattle. For more tips on social media and anything Beyoncé, follow her on Twitter @charmaineriley.