There are some great approaches to branded social media strategy, specifically involving the creation of interesting content. However, when it comes to social media, companies often operate under environments that are restrictive to creativity and limit resonance with their audience.

Generally what we see is a selected group of people to be in charge of managing the branded social media efforts. I’d go so far as to say that it’s usually only one or two social media managers in charge of the majority of the content to be pushed to branded channels. In best case scenarios, it’s a small team.

The fundamental problem with this approach is the limiting effect it has on generating creative content that truly resonates with an audience. It’s not that the content isn’t present but rather that the nuances in how content is attributed and recognized by the audience clash with the true nature of social media, disrupting the effectiveness of these kinds of posts. In other words, the way in which companies approach social media is disconnected from the way individuals use it.

Let me explain some of the kinks in how most businesses practice their social media strategy today.

1) No face in facebook:
When I see a clever post its alway warming to see the face that created it. Social media has always consisted of very human interactions and introducing a corporate entity is no replacement for this experience. People know who they’re talking to and behave differently when there is not a fleshy human on the other side. When a branded channel is all that there is to back up a great piece of content, I feel deflated. I like to celebrate that a person like me, and not some arbitrary brand, created something awesome. It’s a celebration of the human experience, and It’s central to the enjoyment of great content on social media.

2) Not Sustainable:
I can explain this in one word: “Mondays”. Lets face it, not everyone is 100% all the time. This is even more applicable when it comes to generating creative material. Creativity is a mysterious process that is unique to each individual, so to restrict the production of large amounts of creative content to a small team makes it hard on everyone. Have you ever tried to force creativity out of someone when they’re not in that particular mindset? It makes for a sub-par outcome and an unhappy participant.

3) Personal Bias:
We are creatures of habit, which shows through in most of what we do. Because of this, it’s hard to maintain a dynamic perspective when creating content on social media. Posts by the same person tend to take on the same feel, which will be limiting to the audience you’re trying to reach. While most brands want to maintain a consistent type of message, it’s important to also consider the diverse perspectives of your audience. Keeping Social media activities limited to a small team, or even an individual, greatly limits the diversity in perspective through which your audience would otherwise resonate more fully. In other words, creative content that sees success on social media has its roots in unique perspective.

4) The Lurking Motive:
There are still remnants of the old way of marketing all throughout social media (the hard sell, the gimmick, the “GREAT DEAL!”, etc.). I understand, there’s a business goal to be met and social media teams struggle with incorporating that goal into creative content that actually works. Unfortunately, it turns into this “old school meets new school” frankenstein of sorts and no one’s happy. For the modern smart consumer this is a major turnoff, and may end up actually hurting your brand. With the rise of the internet and social media consumers have all the control, and forcing something in front of them at any random time is usually not the answer. The key is to be there when they ask for you but until then, you’re there to gain trust and build a relationship, especially when it comes to social media. This is done best with genuine content associated with a person, because people relate to other people, not logos.

5) Missed opportunities:
Branded channels are hijacking something that truly belongs to the individual, recognition. Companies are missing the point: all kinds of people can create great content, and when recognized for their efforts both company and individual benefit. When individuals are recognized for their achievements a snowball effect of employee engagement begins to take place. As individuals are given the tools to share and measure the success of their creative content, a more nurturing and positive culture begins to emerge. This is exactly what it means to be a social business today. It’s something that embodies the entire organization, not a single department.

It’s clear that there are some fundamental flaws in the way most companies are handling social media, flaws that take away from the way people are experiencing brands on social. Attributing content solely to a brand channel leaves a certain hollowness in the audience, which was never intended to be a part in the social media equation. To embrace a strategy that resonates with the true nature of social media would be to open the door for all individuals to generate creative content. Then track, optimize, and recognize those activities across your company.

Addvocate gives companies the tools to enable measure and optimize their employee’s social voices, keeping the humanity in social media and the smarts in your social strategy. Watch a 2 minute video to see how it works.