How to win the internet, and win consumers along the way

“Social is everything we do. It’s the connective tissue.” That was the message from Meghan Myszkowski, global head of social media for Xbox and Game Pass, at Advertising Week New York. But social media is constantly changing, making brand relevance often hard to achieve. Here’s what brands should keep in mind.

Be aware of your audience

  • Social approaches must be tailored to platforms. Facebook’s users skew older: 62.9% are 35 and older, while on TikTok just 30.8% are. Facebook social strategy should look different from TikTok, which should look different from Twitter.
  • For Hot Pockets, a shift in targeting paid off. “We made a concerted effort to really focus on the younger side of the business,” shifting away from a previous focus on parents, said brand marketing manager at Nestlé Bryan Waddell.

Take risks, but do so carefully

  • Risky social media posts require buy-in across the company. Something that takes 5 minutes to make could take five months to clear with a legal team, noted Myszkowski.
  • Building trust internally is vital to taking risks. Waddell summed this up with the question, “how do you get a legal team okay with the memefication of your brand?”
  • Liquid Death vice president of creative Andy Pearson said risk-taking pays off when the brand’s “logic is sound.” That line of reasoning has influenced decisions from Liquid Death’s CEO getting a fan’s face tattooed on his body to an advertisement from an adult film actress.

Be original, but learn from other brands

  • Whether establishing mentor brands or following other brands’ leads on when to jump onto a Twitter meme, brands can learn from each other.
  • “Microsoft is sometimes overarchingly a little cautious,” noted Myszkowski in regards to Xbox’s social campaigns. For this reason, Xbox will use other brands to “take the heat” before contributing their own edgy post.

Approach messaging holistically; don’t only focus on paid advertising

  • When it comes to social media, ROI won’t come from individual posts, but from the tone and story brands build on the whole.
  • Entertainment is a pillar of that approach. Describing Liquid Death’s strategy, Pearson noted, “we kind of see ourselves as a content studio in a lot of ways, rather than a marketing department.” Pearson built further on that idea, describing the brand itself as “a character we’re writing for.”
  • Payoff won’t always come from paid social. Myszkowski noted that Gen Z and Gen Alpha can “spot paid spon con from a mile away,” and they’ll essentially ignore it. Entertainment-based social approaches require consistent content, rather than paid outreach.

Keep an open mind

  • What works today in social won’t work tomorrow, so be open to changing your brand’s approach. “It changes every day,” said Myszkowski.


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