How Not to Be a Basic Brand on Social Media

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By Honey Comer

In case you are a bit behind on your slang, “basic” is defined by the Urban Dictionary community as a word “used to describe someone [or something] devoid of defining characteristics that might make [them] interesting, extraordinary, or simply worth devoting time or attention to.” A few other descriptors include “uninteresting,” “vapid,” “uncool,” and “obscenely obvious.” Woah! 

As marketers, we work against this every day seeking to stand out from the crowd rather than blend in. I think it’s safe to say that nobody wants to be a “basic” brand.

So how can you ensure you’re a trendsetter instead of a follower on social in 2016? Here are a few tips. 

Get Some Personality

If you take one thing from this post, let it be that embracing individuality is key to breaking basic. Establish a distinct voice for your social channels, and actively engage with your followers as they interact with each other. It can help to think about your brand as a unique character. What are some distinct qualities of this person? Would she be a young reality starlet or a friendly, welcoming grandmother? 

People want to connect with other interesting people on social media who add value to their experience. The quickest way to drift into “unremarkable” territory is to push out traditional marketing collateral on social and never interact with your fans. 

Be a Conversationalist

Think about the dynamics of a conversation you might overhear at a party. Someone makes a statement, and the next person adds to or builds on the first idea. Person A will generally like the fact that person B listened to them, demonstrated that they heard them, and related to them from there. This is a great way to approach creating content for your social channels.

Start by really listening to your community through both qualitative and quantitative performance measures. Has a piece of content performed especially well for you recently? Create some theories about why it did and then test them. Use these as a springboard to innovate further and try something new.

As a tangible example, we recently realized that gamified video performed well for one of our communities. This gave us the idea to test longer, “game show” style videos and episodic formats to see if we could take something our fans loved and elevate it to the next level. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

This is a biggie and a tough one to break through. As marketers, we are trusted with a massive responsibility, and are often reminded of the impact we can have on a company’s bottom line. With that level of pressure, it’s easy to understand why many are vigilantly protective of their brand’s image and reputation. 

If you stay true to your brand’s voice, though, social should be viewed as one of the safest places to play. Don’t let a great real time opportunity pass or sink a would-be-great idea by overthinking it. Try to have fun with your content and remember it’s Facebook (or Twitter, or Snapchat). This is the place to loosen the reigns a bit and have some fun!

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