Now that you've identified your communities and determined which social networks to establish your presence, you need to define your editorial line: a tone and style that best represents you.
This identity allows you to develop your content and interact in conversations. The tone must be the same everywhere: in your posts, responses/comments, and private messages. It should also be the same in your newsletters, with your staff, at the point of sale, and on the phone.
How You Benefit From Going Viral
Building and caring for community members also allows your content to travel beyond its original community. First, with their contacts, then to the contacts of their contacts. Your community is where you have a direct impact. You can't control how the community shares your content within their own networks.
The quality of your content then determines the multiplier effect. Look at its intrinsic quality, but also its ability to be easily shared. That's why many of the videos you see have calls to action: in general, share or comment.
This brings us to the key element of virality: the algorithm.
An algorithm is a set of operating rules specific to a calculation. It's different depending on the social network and determines which action will likely make the content travel to more people.
For example, if you share a photo on Facebook, on average, it will be three times more likely to be seen by your friends than if you comment on it, and ten times more than if you like it.
These figures are commonly accepted estimates. Actual calculations are very complex because they integrate many more elements. And most notably: the algorithm is crucial, and it is (partly) kept secret by the platforms.
In general, be aware that virality has several factors:
The size and quality of the first community: the group on the left side of the previous illustration.
The quality of your content and how easy it's shared.
The network algorithm on which you share your content.
Observe and Analyze Editorial Lines
It also shows that you've been regularly exposed to the account's content: again, this is a victory for the author.
If you don't have an example in mind, take a look at the content of these few brands that have a clearly-defined identity:
Innocent: humor, participation, and intelligence, allowing long texts if they are catchy and of high editorial quality.
Dior: luxury, long text, with a touch of French even when the post is in English, desaturated images with little contrast and cream-colored.
Nike: short text, in short sentences, voluntary, directly appealing to the reader, very worked images. In French, the familiar form of "you" is sometimes used even to address the entire community for a more direct impact.
Freeletics: also calling for action, but even more direct in an almost dry, often imperative tone; low-contrast images predominantly black, always featuring an athlete.
Missguided: light tone, unconventional, flashy, with many emojis, colorful images, usually involving several people.
Humans of New York: photo of people, often outdoors, with text in the form of a long quote with a catchy opening.
Do the same analytical work with at least five accounts. They can be brands that you already follow or others that you discover. It's important that you find your own examples and analyze them.
For each of these brands, what values do you think are conveyed by their tone and iconography? How do you feel about being immersed in this content?
Remember: your content must represent your values. Harley-Davidson sells freedom and escape? Its content should make you want to travel. If the text is too complex or lacks originality, or if the images are too ordinary, it is a failure. It doesn't fulfill the promise or convey emotion.
Implement an Editorial Charter
Grab a project you're working on, keep it in front of you, and stay faithful to it. As you begin to define your editorial line, answer the following questions for your organization.
What subjects emerge from your values?
Can you pull principles from them for your texts?
Should your sentences be short? Long? In between?
Should your post copy be short? All the time? Can it sometimes be longer? Should it always be longer?
Will you ask questions?
Are you using a familiar tone when addressing the community as a whole or only in conversations with a person? Will you ever use a more formal style? Perhaps if you encounter a dissatisfied customer (on a case-by-case basis)?
When you talk about yourself, are you going to use "we" ("our new product")? Or name the organization using the 3rd person ("the brand is releasing a new product")? Or will you use the first person singular "I" for more proximity ("I'm offering you this new product")?
Are you going to sign your comments or tweets with your real first name or initials, as after-sales accounts do? It allows for follow up and humanizes messages.
Are you going to use emojis? Sometimes? Always one? According to taste? Never?
Will these emojis replace words? Or do they simply show a mood?
Do you have emojis that look like you and that you want to use primarily?
Are there words you want to use as often as possible? (i.e., Nescafé has made sure that the word "meeting" comes up often in conversations. Over the long term, it has changed the tone of the conversations).
In your conversations, are you going to use absurdity? Humor? Self-deprecation? Or, on the contrary, respond as effectively as possible?
What is your content's objective? Make people laugh, smile, think, or salivate? Your text and visuals should align with this objective.
Which visual formats will you prefer? None (text only)? GIFs? Illustrations? Photos? Videos? A mix?
It's preferable (but not necessary) to harmonize these formats. When it’s a video, will it last for a defined time? Is it always in the same format?
The first three seconds of the video should be the most eye-catching: are you going to put the most prominent quote there if it's an interview? An especially tailored introduction? The most beautiful image? Dynamic music?
When it is a photo, is it always a top-down/low angle view? On a wide/constricted background? With a person/a group of people/an object/a landscape?
Will you contract a graphic designer? Do you want a dominant color for all of your visuals? Or a spectrum of colors? Warm, cool, pastel, vivid, desaturated, black and white?
Do you have a specific graphic charter? Overlay text?
What fonts will you use?
Write other principles for your text and images as they come to mind because they will say something about you. Don't leave anything to chance.
It can take time and become very precise. In this example, this running brand wants to play on the interaction between nature and the city. And the images must be from a runner's perspective. Therefore, only the image on the left fulfills the two conditions:
Provide examples to make your document more alive. Find images on Google images or on social networks to help you identify what you want to do or want to avoid.
Define Your Tone
A good way to define your tone is to create a table of do's and don'ts. Make sure you include the right words to use, those that match your tone, and those too casual or too formal.
If you want to embody the spirit of rebellion, you're likely to choose a more natural and casual style - this is your "do."
Your "don't" would be using overly-formal vocabulary. Another don't would be spelling mistakes - that's never good!
Here is an example of a do's and don'ts table.
Purely customer service
Well done, you now have your editorial charter!
Feel free to share it to get opinions (or feedback, if necessary), so it can evolve before putting it into practice. If you have difficulty deciding on these questions, ask a copywriter or an artistic director - for help!
The editorial charter is the reference document that formalizes how you write content posted on your social networks. There should be many examples and counter-examples. The objective is to ensure the consistency and quality of your editorial line for all employees who will have to produce content for your social networks; including:
The senior community manager (CM) + their back-ups in the event they aren't available.
Any independent CM you use.
People who manage your organization's secondary accounts on social networks. For example, some resellers have Facebook pages or respond to Google reviews and must do so in the organization's tone.
The photographer, the videographer.
Your public relations department.
Potential partner influencers: in this case, you'll need to make them aware of certain points without necessarily disclosing your entire editorial charter.
Choose the Right Format for Your Content
Aside from what suits your identity, some content formats generally work better than others. Learn from others to avoid making the same mistakes:
Short content (text or video) is more effective for engaging many people. But long content is not forbidden; you just have to work on your catchphrase and realize that only very committed people will read or watch to the end.
On Twitter, there is room for brevity. Even if the thread format allows you to develop an argument or multiply examples, the rule is the same: one tweet, one idea.
A video will receive more interactions on Facebook than a picture, and an image will receive more than just text.
Choose Your Content
Once you have the editorial charter, how do you create your content?
Avoid starting from scratch by outsourcing the topics, content, and articles you want to broadcast. Again, stay true to your charter. Certain subjects and processes won't pass your filter.
If you decide to create the content yourself, you can at least do it with a good camera and pen. You may need an artistic director to provide you with a Photoshop template so you can create content quickly.
But you can be more ambitious and produce substantial original content: blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.
If you have to manage something big (launch, crisis, campaign), you may need to create more spontaneous content! It may help if you bring your content creators together into one room (a war room or social room). This social room can be temporary or a regular thing.
Your organization may also need to integrate into a live public event. Sporting events, current affairs, politics (without taking sides), or social events offer many opportunities to express yourself. In this case, if this real-time marketing (RTM) activity is growing, you may need help.
Your "room" or your "factory," whatever its name, must have different profiles. You can be more responsive by having all the skills close at hand.
Adapt Your Content
If you manage several social networks, your content will not be precisely the same. You cannot copy and paste a publication intended for platform A onto platform B.
However, you will also not start from square one. You can adapt some of the content to the syntax and tone of each network. It will save you precious time.
For example, if you manage four platforms, some content will be suitable for all four. Some will go into platform A or platform B.
You can also save some effort if you work in different markets, such as different countries, languages, cultures, time zones—the same works for different social accounts on the same network.
For example, Twitter accounts that end with "_fr" for France, "_de" for Germany, "_be" for Belgium, etc. Or a single Facebook page that you will have configured to properly show content A to people in market A, B for people in market B, etc.
Produce Content for Multiple Markets
In terms of producing content for different markets, you typically have three options:
Create independent entities, each producing their own content, with a common editorial and visual identity. Everyone can follow their counterpart accounts for inspiration, but it's not mandatory or even encouraged.
⇒ In this case, you have few economies of scale—just a part of the strategy.
A perfect synergy. A single team produces the content and translates/localizes it before publishing. Many companies in major European cities (Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, London) work with natives to translate/localize content.
⇒ In this case, your economies of scale are total, but your teams may lack creativity and appear less close to their community's concerns and culture.
A mix of these two approaches. The content is produced by a centralized team that then suggests it to the local teams. They still can say what content will be used and are free to produce it themselves. Depending on the organization, each market will take between 0 and 100% of the offered content by translating it or widely modifying it.
⇒ In this case, everyone is responsible. And no one is likely to end up without content or with inferior content. The visual and editorial identity is always in harmony.
Design an editorial line that suits you and brings your community together. This includes: text, visuals, tone, multimedia format, and content.
Choose the proper balance between scheduled and spontaneous content.
Set up the right organization to create it. Save your resources; you'll need them for the future!
Are all indicators go? Is your editorial charter ready? Let's continue.