Why Social First Brands Are Winning

These days social is the primary catalyst of culture, and culture determines a brand’s relevance.  Thus brands are quickly realizing that the ones who think with a social first mindset are the most relevant with consumers. 

But what exactly is a social first brand, and why are many adopting this approach?

Social-first marketing isn’t just about using social media as a distribution channel; it’s about crafting campaigns and content with social in mind from the very start. And that requires understanding and leveraging people’s social behavior to create engaging experiences. 

So here are some of the tenants of a social first brand. 

1. Add Value: The content they create adds to the conversations already taking place on social channels. They understand that consumers don’t actually want to hear from brands, but appreciate brands who bring value to the ongoing conversations. 

2. Phone First: Content is designed specifically for social media. I’m not talking about sending someone with a phone to a television shoot to grab a few vertical clips, I’m talking about the shoot itself being crafted and strategized around maximum engagement on social. 

3. Be Native: They don’t treat all social platforms the same. They tailor content to feel native to that platform, whether it’s eye-catching visuals on Instagram, trendy videos on TikTok, or interactive polls on X.

4. Creator Partnerships: They leverage creators for the vast majority of their content production. I know many of you marketers got your MBA and are incredibly well trained in branding principles, but the reality of the content environment we operate in today is that you truly have no idea which content is going to pop. And the more you produce and constrain the creativity to fit your trained principles the worse off you are. 

5. Be Real: They understand that polish doesn’t work with consumers anymore. Now that doesn’t mean you need to be unhinged, it just means that personality and realness resonates more, and not just on social media. Consumers are demanding this type of brand content on all channels. 

Brands like OliPop, Liquid Death, and Duolingo are doing this exceptionally well. They’ve mastered the art of social-first marketing by creating content that not only aligns with their brand identity but also speaks directly to their audience’s interests and preferences. From quirky product promotions to interactive language challenges, these brands understand the power of social media in building communities and driving engagement.

By understanding and adapting to social media dynamics, brands can carve out their place in the digital conversation and stay ahead in today’s incredibly noisy content ecosystem. We are living in the attention economy, and your ability to garner attention depends on how well you understand your consumers’ behavior on social media. 

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