Strategies for Creating Engaging Social Content: PCC Luncheon


By: Julie Kudlacz

Last week I attended the Publicity Club Chicago’s Luncheon on Strategies for Creating Engaging Social Content. I think it’s safe to say it was a very popular topic. As I walked into the restaurant, every table was filling up quickly and everyone seemed eager to be a part of the event. The panel boasted a start-studded cast of local experts on the topic.Check out a full list of panelist below.

Jason Miller, Vice President for FleishmanHillard Chicago
Katie Eng, Director of Planning at PACO Communications
Brad Boron, Digital Director for The Chicago White Sox
Patrick Cuttica, Product Marking Manager for Sprout Social Inc.
Moderator: Katy Lynch, CEO Techweek (Founder SocialKaty)

Each Panelist brought their own expertise and experience to share with the group. With each panelist having unique experiences I quickly learned that there is no one correct answer when it comes to engaging an audience, because no two audiences are the same. There were so many important points made and great tips and insights offered that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. I’ve group together some of the best soundbites and advice based on five topics that were covered.

1. On how to create an emotion response through social media:

  • First, you must ask who you are trying to engage. Without defining your audience you cannot create content that will drive a response.
  • It is not always about finding positive reactions, it is more important to create a passionate response. Jason Miller noted that when he use to work for a liquor company they created a campaign to get quotes from real life customers, one customer stated that a specific beverage had the taste of a burning garbage can, but that he couldn’t get enough of it.
  • Cultural Relevance is a huge factor in creating an emotional response. Different cultures have strong ties to brands for different reasons and being aware of those can help create more targeted content.Taping into deep-rooted family legacies and traditions creates authentic content and emotional responses. Brad Boron gave a great example of a 105-year-old fan whose family wanted to do something special for her asked if she could attend a game and come out on the field. They ended up bringing out the entire family and created a story fans loved to share.

2. The importance of visuals:

  • We process visuals much faster than text, an image can be used to spark immediate interest amidst the clutter of a news-feed .
  • It’s extremely important to first take into account the audience and the platform.
  • Amazing visuals grab attention but compelling content can change behaviors and opinions. Don’t underestimate the power of the written word if you want to make a lasting impact.

3.Data analysis for social media:

  • The more data you have, the more you begin to realize you need to have predetermined end goals to really measure success. One panelist even suggested creating a mission statement for each platform you have a presence on.
  • While the ROI is important, social media can also be used to create a strong ROR (Return on Relationship).

4.Using celebrities and influencers:

  • Who wants to talk about your brand is always a better partner than who you want to be talking about your brand. Real passion will always shine through. Utilizing influencers who are genuinely excited about working with you will always work better than those who are just there to collect a check.
  • If you are using a celebrity it is essential to find someone who has a passion that overlaps with the company’s passions. Maybe they don’t have a huge connection to your product but figure out an intersection of beliefs to create more meaningful communication. For example, do you both work with similar nonprofits? Is there a cause said person is interested in you could help support?
  • Authenticity is essential, people can see right through content that is forced.

5. Changes in social media in the last six months:

  • Social media is constantly changing and evolving but it is here to stay.
  • The power of the phone is only getting bigger – you must learn how to tap into the mobile universe. Website traffic that would traditionally come from laptop or desktop computers is losing ground compared to the number of people viewing sites from their mobile device.
  • Whatever the medium, content is still king – this is something that will never change.

This seminar started a great conversation on social media content that could have continued all day. My big takeaways from the day were know your audience on each platform, know your end goal before you begin and finally, people want to see look behind the scenes at everything. Social Media is an endless learning process and ever-changing landscape, which can make it seem daunting but is also part of the fun. Panels like this PCC one will help you stay up-to-speed with the latest trends, best practices and newest ways to engage key audiences.