The VIDA model: a simple way to approach Social Media content

by Tomas Van Gastel - March 11, 2015

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Every day, dozens of Facebook and Twitter blog posts cover social content and the best way to approach this. At the same time, we continue to see posts and tweets in our feed that are at odds with what social content marketers are preaching. What has gone wrong? Why isn’t my newsfeed full of interesting, useful and funny content that matches my personal interests and needs?                                                                                                              

“I want to receive offers for spare parts for my old Triumph Bonneville. I want to see blooper videos from football players. I want to know what The Internet of Things has in store for us. I want..., I want... I want what I want. I don’t want to see what companies want me to see!

Well, the social marketeer doesn’t make things easy for companies either. Content curation, PPA strategies, stopping power, etc. are fancy terms that are familiar to every content marketer but they are not always easy for clients to digest. Clients often think that social media is just another channel for companies to push their story to a specific audience. Why don’t we give them an easy content strategy? A strategic model that everyone understands, which is immediately applicable and in which everyone can believe?

Providing good content is an art. One that you can learn. But remember, the visualization is as important as the content. Good content is composed of 4 building blocks: visualization, interest, distribution and analysis. If one of these building blocks isn’t strong enough or isn’t placed with enough finesse, then the (content) creation collapses...

Building block 1 - Visualisation

Today, there is a real ‘Battle of the Newsfeed’ going on. With Facebook Zero, Organic Reach is slowly but steadily disappearing. Everyone can push content to whomever they want. And so it comes down to making a big impact with your visualization. Provide a human touch and dare to think out of the box with your copy, images and videos. Here are some examples of posts that score highly:

  • Copy: short, clear, with a wisecrack
  • Image titleImage titleVisualisation: Remarkable, human
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  • Video: Short, impressive
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  • Combine solid copy and real-life-based visualisation for maximum impact.

Building block 2 - Interest

You will also have to make a difference in terms of building interest. The visualization may be beautiful, but if there’s no obvious “What's in it for me?” (WIIFM) it might be the last time people click on your content. In practice, WIIFM often means “Do I learn something?”, “Does it give me something?”, “Is it funny?” or “Is it impressive?”.

Your content is only as good as the way it is received so it needs to be adapted to your predefined target group. Explore your target audience’s world, get in touch with their habits and interests and seek appropriate insight to customise your message.

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Don’t mislead people. If you announce something in your traffic driver, make sure your landing page meets their expectations.

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  • Ask yourself whether your story is strong enough. If you’re not sure, show it to people who are not closely involved with it. Still missing a convincing YES? Then you have more work to do.

Building block 3 - Distribution

Did you manage to make a gorgeous visualization that will hold a person’s interest? Now you’ve got to give it life. Two things you must not forget.

  • Facebook Zero limits the organic reach of your post, and this restriction will only increase in the future. So if you don’t have a budget, you must rely on luck. Yes, good content will still have more impact than bad through the Facebook Algorithm, but I'd rather put all my money on black at the casino. If you’re lucky enough to have a budget at your disposal, then provide a small promotion on each post > evaluate the welcome of each post > put extra promotion on the most positively welcomed post (or posts) > draw your own conclusions: why do some posts work well, and others not? Examine timing, copy, visualisation and content. You will soon see how you can improve your content in the future.
  • Not every content item fits every channel. If you place the Facebook and Twitter public on Rogers’ curve (innovation theory) people on Twitter tend to rather be innovators/early adopters (tech-savvy, thought leaders,...) while most of the Facebook public can be described as being part of the Majority. Tweeps will be avid for breaking news, while Feebs will be more inclined to participate in a contest. All black and white? Yes, but from my experience this often matches reality.
  • Make sure to always outsmart Facebook Zero and diffuse your content through the appropriate channel(s).

Building block 4 - Analysis

Congratulations, your post/tweet/article/... went live!

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No, you’re not done yet. But you’re almost there. Now it is time to take a step back and look at the results using your common sense. Always base your learning on the predefined objectives. That’s very easy to do. Do you want people to interact with your post (discussion, appreciation,...)? Then focus on the Engagement Rate (ER) achieved. Do you want people to click on a certain action, a news article...? Then concentrate more specifically on the Click Through Rate (CTR) achieved.

  • Note: It is interesting to assign specific weights to the likes, shares and comments to be able to analyse the actions of your fans even better. A share is more valuable than a like.
  • Note: Choose the ‘clicks’ based on your content item. For example, choose ‘video plays’ for videos.

And now, you can use your figures to determine which component of VIDA deserves special attention.

Good luck! And remember...  VIVA LA VIDA! ;-)    

Tomas Van Gastel

Strategic Planner