Social-First Content: Putting Your Best People Front and Center

Written by: Elizabeth Roan

When it comes to content creation for your brand, it is crucial to adopt a social-first approach to tell the most engaging stories and have maximum reach to your audiences. It involves crafting stories that strike a chord with your Best People, using the strengths of each social platform efficiently, and keeping up with emerging trends and cultural specifics. By prioritizing authenticity, engagement, and relevance when producing content, brands can create meaningful connections with their audience while showcasing their most valuable characteristics. 

Gone are the days when social media was considered an afterthought in marketing strategies. We’re all familiar with it: captivating image here, brief description about the product there, copied and pasted verbatim on every channel. 

Right? Wrong!

These days, smart brands adopt a social-first approach, thoughtfully designing content that speaks directly to their target audience, effectively leveraging the strengths of each social media platform, and embracing the most engaging storytelling formats and messaging. To take it a step further from the “image-caption-copy-and-paste” approach, look at every tool each social platform has to offer: Instagram Reels, LinkedIn Blogs, Facebook Stories, a succinct post on Threads. By being purposeful with every platform, creating social-first content recognizes that social media isn’t just another communication channel, but a driver of engagement, influence, and brand advocacy.

MacBook Air & “Study With Me”

One great example of social-first content is Apple’s participation in the “Study With Me” trend: raw clips of entire study sessions that can last up to two to four hours of deep head-in-book footage. In 2023, Apple joined the YouTube influencer trend with a 90-minute video featuring actress and college junior Storm Reid.

Reid demonstrates the Pomodoro Technique, alternating 25-minute study sessions with 5-minute breaks, offering viewers a productive study routine. Acting as a virtual study companion, the video showcases the capabilities of Apple’s MacBook Air. With over 18 million views, the campaign succeeded by tapping into a trending format, featuring a relatable figure like Reid, and providing practical value with the Pomodoro Technique for enhancing study habits.

E.l.f. & “Get Ready With Me”

E.l.f. Beauty is a brand that has successfully leveraged social media to become a leader in the industry. They achieved this by collaborating with beauty influencers and building an authentic connection with their audience. In 2023, the brand launched a social-first digital series called Vanity Table Talk. This show combines elements of popular formats like late-night talk shows and TikTok’s “Get Ready With Me” trend. The series features famous personalities and influencers such as Jennifer Coolidge and Ziwe, making it a fun and engaging experience for viewers.

E.l.f. has been diversifying its content to cater to a wider range of audiences lately. They have created a true crime parody documentary centered around the trend of “e.l.f. pinching” (borrowing e.l.f. products from friends and family without returning them), which is now available on Freevee and in select AMC theaters.

Additionally, they celebrated their 20th anniversary by waving a banner at the New York Stock Exchange, which was streamed on YouTube. By thoughtfully analyzing their audience’s interests, e.l.f. continues to grow its brand by creating diverse and explosively creative content on various platforms.

Tips for Building Social-First Content

While not everyone can partner with Jennifer Coolidge to show off their product, there are ways an organization of any size can take a social-first approach to marketing. It is not a matter of who you know, but what you already know about your audience and how they relate to your brand, that can catalyze advocacy!

Choose the Right Channels: Identify social platforms frequented by your target audience and tailor content accordingly. The only way to find out is to experiment. For audiences who prefer detailed and personal content, YouTube is the way to go. For gems on leadership insight, use LinkedIn. To bookmark long-form content, write a blurb on Threads. Within time and with some social listening (more on that later) you will know which platforms will attract audiences and advocacy. 

Embrace User-Generated Content: Encourage audience participation and brand advocacy by curating and sharing user-generated content, with proper attribution and permissions. The more interactive your content is, from posting a daily vlog encouraging comments or even a stitch on TikTok, to sending a monthly newsletter encouraging readers to share their thoughts with photos and videos, you’re already generating content for your next campaign—now with advocacy from your best people. 

Prioritize Social Listening: To get a better understanding of your audience, it’s important to analyze what people are saying online about your brand and your industry as a whole. This involves keeping an eye – or maybe ear? – on your social media channels for any mentions of your brand or any feedback that people may have. To stay up-to-date with the latest trends and conversations, you can use social media management and listening tools, such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and BuzzSumo. By tracking metrics and monitoring audience interaction, you can be proactive in engaging with your audience and managing any potential crises.

Put Yourself Out There: If you are just starting to think about creating content for your brand, there’s no better time than now to hit record, share some thoughts, and post it! You will learn a lot along the way and it will get easier over time.

By embracing the principles of social-first marketing, brands can navigate social media platforms with confidence, each piece of content more thoughtful and daring than the last. And if you need a little help refining that vision and getting great content out there, Slice Communications has a team of experts at getting the right attention from the right people through creative solutions. Reach out today!

Subscribe for Blog Updates

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden