According to a report published by Facebook Newsroom, International Women’s Day was 2017’s most talked about event, globally. Brands too participate in the conversation through their social media content. This is a great way to highlight the brand’s personality. With Women’s Day just round the corner, brands should start thinking about how they can create compelling content around this event. As you get cracking on ideating your campaigns and shooting videos, here are some ideas on how to win engagement on Facebook.
In this article, we explore what personal care brands in India usually do on social media around Women’s Day. In light of the changes Facebook has proposed concerning visibility in the News Feed, we look at how brands can create truly engaging Women’s Day content that resonates with their audience.
Brands analysed in this report are: Olay, Pantene, Avon, Benefit Cosmetics, Clinique, Colgate, Dove, Durex, Forest Essentials, Gillette, Johnson’s Baby, L’Occitane en Provence, L’Oreal Professionnel, Nivea, Neutrogena, Oriflame, Pond’s, Pears, Revlon, Sephora, The Body Shop, Wella Professionals.
How do Personal Care Brands Usually Engage Their Audience Around Women’s Day?
We took a look at the Facebook activity of these personal care brands in February and March in the years from 2013 to 2017. While there were a variety of approaches used by brands year-to-year, we noticed an interesting trend.
Over a fourth of all these posts involved some form of engagement bait, usually as part of contests. Posts that try to artificially boost engagement or reach by asking people to use reactions or comment or share or tag a friend qualify as engagement bait. These brought in, on average, more than 40% of all the interactions these personal care brands received on their Women’s Day content.
The graph below shows the percentage of posts each year that employed some form of engagement bait:
As you can see, engagement bait has become an essential part of most brands’ social media strategy. Given the level of engagement these posts have brought in, it is not surprising. Even the most engaging piece of Women’s Day content from last year uses tag baiting. Take a look at the post and the copy:
Given the 180,000 shares (the most by any brand in the group in 2017) and 11 million video views it racked up, it’s no wonder why brands would consider using engagement bait. Especially when a brand creates a piece of content with high production value, they’d do everything they can to ensure that it brings in maximum ROI. Every Facebook update is making it clearer that organic reach is a pipe dream.
In a recent update, Facebook issued a crackdown on all forms of engagement bait. This means that Facebook will demote posts that artificially try to boost engagement. In the above post, Oriflame is asking their audiences to tag their friends in the comments. Such a shortcut to get better reach qualifies as tag baiting and will now be penalized by the Facebook algorithm.
So, how can personal care brands create compelling Women’s Day content that will get them great engagement in a Facebook-approved way?
How to create truly engaging Women’s Day content?
The fundamentals of creating engaging content has remained the same, irrespective of the changes Facebook has made to its algorithm. It boils down to one thing: telling meaningful, relevant stories.
Terms like ‘meaningful’ and ‘relevant’ are not as vague as you think. It is possible to use data to understand what your audience expects from you on social media.
So, to create truly engaging Women’s Day content, take a look at:
1. What your target audience has engaged with in the past around this event
2. What your peers have done around the event that has won engagement
3. Current trends in social media content
Using Discover, a catalogue of over half a billion pieces of branded content, we were able to mine the following insights.
Listen to Your Target Audience
Often, when you only stick to what has worked for you in the past, your content will become formulaic and will get less engagement over time. To infuse fresh new perspectives in your content, you can take a look at what your audience is engaging with. You can even consider branded content produced by brands outside your industry, as long as they share a similar audience profile.
For instance, when we looked at the most successful Facebook posts by all brands in India, around Women’s Day, this post by Biba, the apparel brand, came up:
The video is a light take on the outdated practice of dowry. Instead of taking a bold, antagonistic stand that will alienate a section of their conservative audience, Biba plays it safe by framing it as an interaction that takes place in a typical household.
Talking about women’s issues that are specific to India can stimulate engagement, as your audience is able to participate in these conversations. Such an approach can be adopted by India-specific pages of global brands like Dove to engage their audience better.
If you look at the charts below, you can see how Biba’s audience profile is mostly composed of young women. So is Dove’s.
Based on the audience profile, Dove (which has a larger percentage of fans who are less than 30) could perhaps afford to take risks without having to toe the conservative line. This decision too, has to be tested out based on how their audience have responded to progressive messaging in the past.
Pay Attention to Industry Trends
When we took a look at the Women’s Day content published by Indian personal care brands, it was hard to find posts that did not include ‘hit like’ or ‘tag a friend’. We’ll discuss a couple of other successful approaches here.
You can feature a celebrity or influencer who is emblematic of the spirit of Women’s Day. While Pantene leveraged Priyanka’s Chopra’s star power, even smaller brands took this route to win engagement. Take a look at what Yardley of London did last year:
This is part of a series of five posts that featured influencers and celebrities that embody a unique zest for life. By doing so, the brand can tap into the following that Mithila Palkar, Chinmayi Sripada, Alicia Souza etc enjoy.
As of now, engagement bait does not include brands asking their fans to post on their own walls using a branded hashtag. Given that this does not help boost the engagement of specific brand posts and is often intended to get users to share their experiences, this might be here to stay.
Here, brands like Joy, My Epique etc spearhead an initiative that challenge beauty stereotypes and ask their fans to join in and share their thoughts.
There were quite a few user posts that used My Epique’s branded hashtag #BeautyNotANumber. By responding to users who use the hashtag, brands can build a relationship with them and foster a culture of sharing. This makes it more likely for your audience to follow your page and to engage with your content.
Stay updated on current social media trends
Brands have to constantly stay on top of what is trending on social media. This includes paying attention to what content formats and themes are resonating with your audience. The challenge lies in working your brand into the conversation while also bringing in the event you want to create content around.
One of the social media trends that Facebook has actively promoted since its introduction is the live video. The News Feed algorithm favors live videos by granting them better reach and visibility. Your followers also get notified when you go live. Moreover, according to a survey conducted by Wyzowl, 81% of marketers found live videos to be an effective strategy.
Last year, around Women’s Day, Facebook encouraged users to go live and share stories of inspirational women using the hashtag #SheMeansBusiness. Several brands utilised this opportunity and won engagement by sharing inputs from influential women in their field.
Here’s a great example from Lakme Fashion Week:
Apart from keeping an eye out for such occasional freebies Facebook throws your way, take a look at the hashtags and topics that are popular among your target audience. When we searched Discover for content around women’s issues, we uncovered a lot of engaging posts around women in business. This could be a trend you can address in your Women’s Day content this year.
In conclusion, we’d like to emphasise that Facebook’s engagement bait update does not mean the end of Facebook marketing. It definitely raises the bar on creating quality content. Brands can easily rise up to this challenge armed with the power of data.
(The author is a social media journalist at Unmetric.)