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Social Media: Planning to Experiment with Matt Navarra

Join Matt Navarra for the first in our Tips, Tools and Tactics series about experimenting with your content.

Sophie Thompson
18th June 2021

Marketers say their content is 60% more reactive than it's ever been. But with demands on social media managers increasing, it's becoming more difficult to find time to stay reactive and still maintain the same sign-off processes as usual.

However, when you make time for reactive content the potential it has for brand awareness is huge. Remember Weetabix and Heinz beans?

As part of our practical, new Tips, Tools, and Tactics webinar series, we enlisted the help of a social media guru who knows more than a thing or two about reactive and experimental content: Matt Navarra.

This session was the first of three (the second one is coming up very soon and you can already reserve your complimentary place now, just scroll to the bottom of this blog!) and so many great points were made about the importance of leaving an hour or two to see what's happening in the news and create content around it, or even keep a bank of content for slower days - and building that approach into your wider social media marketing plan.

Watch the full replay below, or scroll down for the summary...

Evergreen content

While reactive content is largely about reacting to the news or topical events to increase brand awareness and followers, having a bank of evergreen content is what really gets your message and persona across. Evergreen content can be news-related but will still have a tailwind after that event is over. That means you can repost and reshare it with no sell-by date to keep its momentum.

Some examples of evergreen content:

  • User-generated content
  • Listicles
  • Broader topics relating to a more specific event (e.g. a timeline of Apple products over the years could be reused on product anniversaries, when news stories are released about Apple, or when there's an important change within the company. It's a piece of content that can be used for more than one occasion.)

Coming up with evergreen content ideas:

Matt highlighted the importance of involving your wider team with internal ideation. It allows everyone to feel empowered, and a salesperson could probably write a piece of sales-related content better than a marketing person could.

It's worth using a tool such as ContentCal Contributions to collect top-of-the-funnel ideas which can then be collated into one, more detailed idea. You may find many people have similar ideas!

Matt also suggested closely monitoring your content analytics to spot patterns that can inspire new pieces of content on similar topics, so you can piggyback off the original piece's success.

For example, if your top-performing piece of content is a timeline of Apple products over the years, it may be worth expanding out into other similar topics such as Steve Jobs, an in-depth look at the iPhone's mechanics, how Apple became one of the world's most successful companies, or what their most popular offering is.

You should also keep a close eye on competitors to see if there's any content working well for them that you haven't yet explored.

Some social listening tools Matt recommends for finding out which direction your content should take:

  • Buzzsumo
  • Google Analytics
  • Spike
  • Google Trends

Another tip is to find ways to remix and repurpose your best evergreen content. If there's an update you could potentially add to the story, go back and add it in. If the original piece is a blog post, turn it into social graphics. People digest content in different ways!

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Experimenting and taking risks with content

Plan, plan, plan!

It may seem shocking, but planning can be a marketer's biggest downfall when it comes to making time for reactive, ad-hoc posting.

Here are some points Matt recommends you consider when coming up with a content marketing strategy to stay on top of its execution:

  • How many posts will you publish each day, and across which platforms? Matt suggests taking a more realistic than an idealistic approach to this, by thinking about what resource you have available and what other tasks take up your day.
  • What are the best times to publish?
  • Do you have a bank of hashtags you can reuse?
  • Do you know who needs to be tagged in those posts? Getting reshares from users you mention will boost reach!
  • What does success look like?
  • How will you measure your content and tweak it going forward?

He also suggests using a tool such as ContentCal to streamline your workflow and bring your entire process into one place. With that in mind, you should have a central place to keep all of your evergreen ideas, so you've always got a bank of content ready to go.

This central location should also be the place you store brand assets, images and a documented social media policy, providing visibility for everyone in the team on your tone of voice, key contacts and topics that are allowed to be posted on your channels. This is especially important for teams in different time zones!

Finding your content confidence

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Once you've followed the above steps you can really get creative. That's not to say you have to create a huge viral campaign every time though.

Experimental or reactive pieces of content can include:

  • Behind-the-scenes of a project
  • Reacting to your business needs (building excitement around a new launch, for example)
  • Commenting on or reacting to a competitor's post
  • Putting your own spin on a trending topic (see this great example from Innocent below)

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How do you get to the stage where you should feel comfortable enough to get involved with this type of content? Matt says it's as simple as having good, creative social media managers. A good social media manager should be a great copywriter, have their finger on the pulse, the right connections (particularly at the key platforms), and more recently, have good photo and video editing skills. All of these skills combined are pivotal to the success of reactive content!

This is super key for ensuring that there are no potential legal issues or detriments to your brand. Reactive content is, well, reactive, so if your social media manager needs to post something that's happening on a Sunday when no one else is working, they need to be able to execute that with trust from those around them.

Failing is a part of the process

One of Matt's most important points is: for every great viral reactive campaign you see, there are 100 others that have failed or received backlash. We're looking at you Burger King.

Matt says the best thing you can do is embrace failure and learn from it. There are no black and white rules to social media marketing, so transparency and owning up to your mistakes is far better than running from them. Some of your most controversial work could also prove to be your most popular!

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Matt's key takeaways for successful experimental and reactive content:

  • Set your brands' key pillars and think about them closely when picking content topics
  • Collaborate with the wider team - they probably have some great opinions on what will be perceived well by your audience
  • Have a bank of evergreen content you can frequently use to boost the reach
  • React to what's happening in the world - use your judgment and be sensible, but don't worry if it doesn't go to plan!

Matt will be back for part 2 of the Tips, Tools, and Tactics series on July 8th at 4pm BST. The next session is all about collaboration and community management, you can already reserve your complimentary place.


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