Social Strategy in 2022: How hygienic is your feed?
As 2022 is now upon us, we felt like it would be useful to look at some of the key trends that started emerging in 2022, and that we feel are going to lead the way for social media marketers this year.
- Content Density: There is an expectation from audiences that the content they consume will be concise, well-produced, and relevant. We have conditioned ourselves to require more value per second (VPS) than ever before. Users skip through Instagram stories. They are drawn into high-density TikTok feeds. A well-scripted Instagram reel is going to be significantly more engaging than even the best Instagram lives. What keeps them engaged? The value of content served in the time they are willing to spend consuming it.
- Human Audiences: As we outlined in a broader content planning article, there is a shift from marketers where with the rise of programmatic advertising, we have dumped our best brand advocates in favour of anyone who is willing to hand us a click to give this month’s KPI report a lift. Social media is verging on going full circle where the most effective content is actually treating our audiences as humans. This will be a dominant strategy as we move towards the metaverse and the lines between online and offline behaviour blur even further.
How do we put these things into practice? For those of us focused on social strategy, there exists a valuable approach to content planning: The Hero, Hub, Hygiene model. This model has provided structure to campaign messaging and creative fidelity in all channels.
As social media has continued to evolve and various platforms are progressing through the adoption curve there has become a renewed need for social comms planning. The days of coming up with one size fits all social strategy are over, and marketers must now focus on distributing your Hero, Hub, and Hygiene in the channels that are best suited for these types of content. There is now a significant need to understand what content is going to resonate with audiences in certain channels, as well as how content might perform beyond just Facebook and Instagram.
Let’s take a look at each category of Hero, Hub, Hygiene, their definitions that remain relevant, and what considerations social media marketers should have going into 2022.
“Act like an Advertiser”
This is your chance to shine. Large-scale, high production value content that delivers your brand’s message at the right time. Think: seasonal campaign videos, brand anthems, product launches, etc. The amount of hero content you can produce will likely be limited by budget and time, so it is best to focus on creating several key pieces that will truly accomplish your goals.
How does this change in 2022?
Hero content is the category that will see the least change in 2022. Of course, the insights, messaging, and tone of these pieces will adapt and evolve with the current climate, but our hero content will remain the high production value content that is well planned and represents your brand in the best possible way. Channel distribution
Two social networks with growth that nobody talks about? Zoom and Microsoft Teams (or, insert your own professional communication platform). The rise of remote work and remote teams has given rise to some of the most social networks out there. You might think, but how can my brand have a presence in these channels if they are behind corporate doors? If you create content that is compelling enough and resonates with your audience, you might just generate shares and conversations on these platforms which tend to have incredibly high engagement and attention - too bad you can’t report on that. Yet…
“Act like a YouTuber”
This is where you can really make an impact with your audience. Chances are, if content has ever gone viral, it was Hub content. This content should always be timely, regularly scheduled content that delivers consistent on-brand content to your follower’s feeds. It is important to note that though content may be scheduled ahead of time, it can be beneficial to have hub content that is flexible to be posted when the right time strikes... Hub content is all about the right message, right time.
How does this change in 2022?
Hub content is without doubt the hardest content category to consistently produce. Looking at the brands that have always been strong in this realm such as RedBull and Formula 1, there is an expectation by audiences that this content will be highly produced, highly relevant, and very timely.
Hub content is leading the way in platforms that emerged in 2021 such as TikTok - well produced with a high density of content seems to be a winning formula for brands. The nice thing with TikTok is that much of the creative work is already accomplished through established trends - some of the best performing brand content is a careful application of your brand onto existing trends - Examples from Arc’teryx and Lululemon.
“Act like a friend”
24/7/365 always on social media engagement - posting quick updates, commenting, and responding to community questions. This is the bread and butter of community management, and should not be overlooked as part of your content strategy. Often relegated to interns or completely overlooked, the ongoing engagement with your audience can pay dividends in the long run. Having a brand that is “always on” is where you truly drive loyalty with your followers, and it is important that this messaging is still on brand. Though hard to plan for explicitly, having a solid set of community management guidelines will allow your social team to consistently deliver on brand hygiene content.
How does this change in 2022?
Hygiene content is the area where we have seen the most change through 2021. In fact, when we first started looking at how hygiene content might be perceived as we enter 2022, there was some thought that it might disappear altogether. This content is evolving so rapidly that it can be hard for any kind of specific planning or strategy to keep up. The best way to keep up with the ever-changing requirements is to focus your efforts on the channels that work and guide your social media content through guardrails and a POV. The second you have to go “back to the drawing board” with hygiene content, the opportunity has passed.
Hygiene content has run its course in certain channels - Facebook? Dead. Instagram feed? Dead. So one must look beyond traditional platforms and channels when focusing their hygiene content - When we think of the notion that hygiene content should be where brands “act as a friend” we need to be thinking about where people are generally still interacting with their friends - Instagram stories, TikTok, and Twitter would be great places to start.
The largest shift in social content strategy for 2022 is a renewed focus on comms planning - putting the right message in the right channel at the right time. Without this foresight, it will become ever-increasingly likely that social media teams will continue aimless production of more content than what is consumable by our audiences. The Hero, Hub, Hygiene model remains as relevant as ever, but with a renewed focus on understanding which channels are best suited for each type of content.