Content marketing and social media marketing are not only equally important, they also go hand in hand.
Every great branding campaign needs quality content backed by kickass social media pages to boost traction. A creative, informative and well-crafted blog is time wasted if your audience never has the opportunity to read it.
Most people on social media aren’t looking to buy products, in fact, they’re often not even looking for an informative read. Instead, they’re looking for entertainment. So how do businesses use these platforms to grab attention, pique curiosity and invite followers to find out more? It’s a mix of exciting visuals, compelling design and relevant topics.
We’ve picked out some of the best brands getting their social media visuals and content marketing right.
01. Expedia – Linking one campaign to another
Expedia primarily sells flights, accommodation and holidays. But it’s a competitive market out there so they need to come up with ways to keep their audience excited about the product. Luckily, they have mastered content marketing with their blog Out There Starts Here. The blog is particularly effective at offering its audience tips, guides and inspiration for their next big trip (which of course they’ll be booking on Expedia).
Expedia’s social media campaign complements their blog perfectly by using effective travel images paired with curiosity-inducing copy. Interested in what Zoe Foster-Blake is eating in Italy? Then head to the blog to find out! Maybe book a flight to Italy while you’re at it. Notice that in each of their posts, they include the campaign title or slogan. It’s a simple step but it’s another way to create recall for their campaign and can help direct audiences back to their website.
Use this same technique when you roll out your next promotional, marketing or sales campaign. It can be as simple as finding a relevant images and branding it with your campaign title or slogan.
02. Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation – Establishing yourself as the industry expert
Michelle Bridges is best known for her appearance as a trainer on the reality TV show Australia’s Biggest Loser. She went on to create her 12 Week Body Transformation – a fitness program aimed at helping people lose weight and keep fit. But a well-known name doesn’t always guarantee the success of a brand. So what has the team behind the program done to launch the business into success? Instead of trying to hard-sell the product, the 12WBT blog offers recipes, workout plans and inspiration for the right mindset. By offering free content that’s relevant and promotes their image, Michelle Bridges’ team has established themselves as trustworthy experts in their field.
At the same time, their social media is used to reel readers in by supporting their blog content with motivational posts. Motivational quotes paired with motivational images are not only relevant, they’re extremely “shareable” on social media.
Another thing worth noting about these posts is how the graphic quotes are designed. Each quote or tip is given context with the right image and fonts are carefully matched to create emphasis where needed — words like “sweat”, “strong” and “limits”. Through this technique, even text posts can become a visually exciting experience, encouraging followers to click through and learn more.
03. Grammarly – Using humor and wit to grab attention
Grammarly is a writing app that finds and corrects grammatical errors in written text. But how did they make their professional editing services interesting for an audience that does not know “they’re”, from “their”? By make it fun! Grammarly blog posts feature thought-provoking and funny content that isn’t limited to the knowledge of a professional editor. Examples of their posts include How Do You Spell Donut – donut or doughnut? There’s even a post on How to Talk like a Pirate.
In the same vein, Grammarly knows that people look for funny and entertaining posts on social media. So, they echo their blog’s fun, humorous vibe in ways optimized for Facebook — short text posts accompanied by interesting imagery. Rather than long articles, they feature singular words with amusing or witty meanings.
Grammarly’s Facebook posts demonstrate that there’s no need to use impressive photography every single time — high-quality stock photos overlayed with text are simple but effective ways to catch attention and even create engagement. Like Grammarly, try pairing interesting one-liners with carefully matched stock images to create an eye-catching text and graphic post.
04. Shelter Pet Project – Creating a character
Shelter Pet Project are a pet rescue centre looking for new families to adopt their cats and dogs. The very aim of their model is to get you to fall in love with their animals and they’ve grasped the opportunity of reaching their market online. Their blog offers adoption success stories from other adopters in the form of a pet profile. Details include the names of adopters, location, which shelter their pet came from, why their pet is so special and even what their new pet would say about them if they could talk. The profiles offer a very quirky voice to a somewhat serious topic.
Take Hamilton the Pug for example. What would he say about his new owners? “I bet you didn’t know my mom loves these parties more than I do. 1 part, 2 party, 3 party, more; where are we headed next?”
Shelter Pet project has mastered the art of personification and storytelling. It’s no longer the marketers who are selling you their pets, it’s the adopters (and even the pets themselves). They’ve used social media to it’s the pet’s adorable faces and their even cuter social commentary that creates a voice and face for the brand, even if this isn’t a human one. It’s humorous and it tells a story. Everyone loves a good story.
Create characters within your brand and tell a story. You may not be selling a pet, but you can still tell your own product story. Whether that’s cars or floor cleaner, there’s an opportunity for you to create a character or your product’s own unique voice. Keep your potential customers and past customers entertained with a unique perspective that makes your content interesting. This way your brand will stick in the mind of your readers.
05. Frank Body – Encouraging followers to create content
Frank Body offers a range of coffee-based skincare products. This business launched only a few years ago but has managed to catapult into a multi-million dollar venture and it’s all thanks to a multi-faceted content campaign, including their “ The Daily Grind” blog. Through this blog, Frank Body offers a little more than just a scrub – there are interviews with inspirational women, tips on keeping your skin in shape and the most recent development is a battle of the scrubs. Frank Body created something of a social media attention war with this “battle” and most importantly, kept their fans interested.
Pitting four teams (corresponding to each of their scrubs), #teamcacao, #teamcoconut, #teamcoconut, #teampeppermint and #teamoriginal, Frank Body encouraged users to create their own content to show support for their team. Throw in a year’s worth supply of the product and you’ve got customers all over the world competing in this viral campaign. Because the posts are user-generated, the campaign and the hype remained organic and relatable.
Frank Body’s #team campaign is also a noteworthy example of design consistency. The recurring pastel color scheme makes this campaign easy to recognize and remember. When planning your own viral marketing campaign, take note of how Frank Body did it — through consistent design to create recall and a compelling incentive for customers to get involved.
06. Cooksmarts – Building trust and credibility with reviews
Cooksmarts is a meal plan service that aims to take the hassle out of cooking. This idea is supported through their online blogging efforts where there’s a whole section of resources with Guides, Lessons, Articles, Videos and Infographics. That’s a whole lot of useful content that their readers need to know. Tying this to their Instagram account, Cooksmarts uses simple yet well-designed graphics to translate their recipes and guides into easily digestible imagery.
Most notable, however, are the featured consumer reviews and quotes from their happy clients. While many brands list these reviews and case studies on their site, never to be seen, Cooksmarts has used this valuable content as Instagram posts, accompanied by photos of the reviewers.
Cooksmart’s #kitchenhero campaign is a great example of turning consumer reviews and tips into Instagram posts. Featuring happy customers turns them into ambassadors for your business. Including their photos puts an actual “face” to the quote or tip they’ve shared, lending more brand credibility and trust.
07. Headspace – Building a Strong Brand Identity through Consistent Design
Headspace is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to raise awareness around mental health and offers support services. Their mindfulness app, in particular, aims to uncomplicate and make meditation simple by providing a meditation guide. Their advocacy on meditation and mental health revolves around a serious issue but this simply means there’s an even greater urgency to grab the attention of the audience. So how do they do it?
Using their Instagram account, Headspace brings these issues to light by sharing a lot of tips, reminders, and benefits of meditation. At the same time, Headspace makes use of clean, minimalist illustrations and animations to further their advocacy of encouraging people to meditate.
Headspace has a beautifully curated Instagram feed can instantly put you in a Zen mood. Notice their use of bold colors and plenty of negative space. Not only do these draw the eye, they also embody the brand’s emphasis on simplicity. Comprised of professional photography, illustrations and animations, Headspace’s Instagram feed is consistently true to their core service. Similarly, to build a strong brand identity for your business, it’s important to ensure that both your visual and textual content are consistent with your service and brand personality.
08. Homeaway – Summarizing data with infographics
Homeaway allows people to list their holiday house for potential renters or for travelers looking to hire out cheap accommodation. They’ve broken down their blog into three categories – trending in travel, dream destinations and vacation inspiration. There’s travel tips, guides and everything that you need to know about your dream holiday destination. The sheer amount of info and facts can often be tedious and boring to navigate through, so how does Homeaway overcome this challenge for their readers?
Through visuals of course! Infographics are a great way to keep an audience interested in what you have to say. Whilst long and informative articles can be effective in a blog format, when it comes to social media sites like Pinterest, we need to keep it short, interesting and of course aesthetically pleasing. Homeaway’s Travel Infographic pin board offers a variety of interesting travel facts and figures ranging from how New Year’s is celebrated around the world to the best places for enjoying the Fall season, from eating etiquette to tips on stretching your travel budget. All useful information for travels whom they are targeting for their service.
Like Homeaway, you can crunch a complex blog article or data-heavy information into a well-designed infographic to attract your target market. And, Pinterest is a great platform for hosting these infographics because it lets users zoom in on an image, an important feature for infographics.
09. Whole Foods – Going beyond the business
Whole Foods is a supermarket chain based in Austin, Texas and specializes in organic food. They’re killing the content marketing game with a website bubbling with content for the everyday consumer. Content ranges from wholesome recipes to money-saving shopping guides to a list of their favorite wines from Chile. It’s a go to hub for the grocery shopper (so just about everyone) but delivered in a way that’s convenient.
Whole Foods is great at showing off their products through colourful photography paired with bold text highlighting what the blog post offers. However, they’ve successfully created a following on their Pinterest account by going beyond the obvious pins — recipes and photos of produce. Instead, they’ve spread their Pinterest board to encompass even kitchen interior designs with their “Dreamy Kitchens” board, Gardening and even Kid’s DIY projects.
When it comes to using Pinterest effectively, adopt a similar strategy to Whole Foods’ — promote your products alongside related topics that your target market is interested in. This is a soft-sell approach that helps you build a strong content marketing strategy rooted in your unique brand identity.
10. Penguin Random House – Engaging your audience through new angles
Penguin Random House is an international bookseller that produce thousands of titles every year. And while there’s plenty of marketing going into each title they publish, they also need to ensure that they build their brand identity and expertise in the publishing industry. So how can a publishing house appeal to an avid book reader? They find new angles and topics to approach their audience.
For example, they’ve compiled fun listicles consisting of books for seemingly every type of reader and situation. These lists include 30 Books You Should Read Outside, The 11 Worst Fathers in Fiction and 15 Short Books for Busy People just to name a few. They also feature a blog that offers author interviews and writing tips, because often the readers are also budding writers.
This approach is even more apparent in their Pinterest account. With boards like Pride and Prejudice Forever, Beach Reads, and Love Stories, Random House touches across the entire publishing industry and appeals to the interest of book lovers (i.e. their target market) everywhere. One of their most followed Pinterest board is “Words to Live By” featuring beautiful literary quote graphics.
This Pinterest board takes advantage of the shareability and popularity of quote graphics to create follower engagement. Most importantly, it’s content that’s relatable, interesting and relevant to the right audience.
These examples prove that you don’t need to allocate a fortune to graphic design for the promotion of your content. An effective social media campaign can be as simple as you like, as long as it reflects the image of your brand. Don’t be afraid to combine your text with imagery, play around with it and above all have some fun with the designs. If you love it, chances are your audience will love it too and that’s a good step towards a successful brand.