COMMUNICATOR – Why an always-on social strategy is broken

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Social media is changing.

As the social landscape changes on an almost weekly basis, so are the ways your audiences are interacting with it.

When brands first started using social, there was less content, less noise, brands didn’t have to work as hard to have people click on almost everything that they saw on their newsfeed.

Then we went into content shock.

From ads, to influencers, to branded content, we are drowning in a sea of content that is impossible to keep up with. Consumers are exposed to anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 digital messages a day. In order to keep their sanity, people have built up a natural screening process to ignore most brand messages.

Over the years brands and agencies have adopted the ‘always on’ social approach, believing that the more you are in front of your audience, the better. Creating more content to keep themselves top of mind in order to hopefully be one of those very few brand messages that actually cut through.

Social media is no longer a megaphone. Long gone are the days of a constant drumbeat of social noise, newsroom style updates and the ‘obligatory’ pancake day post, all adding to the content swamp. As the amount of content on social media increases far beyond what we can consume, each post becomes less and less likely to be seen.

An always on social strategy is one that is derived from a brand’s perspective and not the users’. Social has moved to a one-to-a-few and often a one-to-one channel. Strong insights, social conversations, audience zeitgeist moments, and letting the consumer and influencer be part of the process are more important now than ever.

Instead of being always on, we recommend an ‘always there’ approach – content that is relevant and meaningful for the audience to discover at the right time and place. Our approach involves creating content that adds value to audiences’ lives, that they are happy to engage with.

Social platforms are prioritising content that audiences actually want to see and interaction with brands is facilitated on the audience’s terms, they choose what they want to see and when.

So why wouldn’t you take the time to understand your audience and deliver the message in way a that they are open to engaging with? Instead of just broadcasting information to them?

Netflix is leading the path for social that adds value and entertainment into their audience’s newsfeeds, a welcome change from brands shouting for attention, but not actually respecting the audience.

Netflix’s social approach goes beyond just telling the consumer what to watch – they truly listen to their audience and amplify key moments that are relevant to their lives. Netflix employs a team to listen and talk in the right places, at the right time, so that they can tap into those real-time moments that will add value to the audiences’ lives, like for example the recent Bird Box meme.


Building off audience insight, Netflix is also working on linking fans. Last month, it introduced a new feature through its app that allows the audience to share customised title art for a film or TV show directly to their Instagram Stories, creating a more seamless way for fans to spread the word.

Netflix’s approach goes beyond brand promotion and heroes listening, participation and collaboration built off truly understanding their audience. Because of this approach, Netflix’s on-going dialogue with their audience feels genuine and their engagement as a result is stronger than ever.

‘Always There’ Top Tips:

Be authentic: Create content because it means something and is relevant to your brand. Be honest, real and human when creating your social content.

Have value: If your content means something, your audience will engage. This of course starts off with truly understanding your audience and their passion and pain points and being creative in giving them that value.

Test and learn: Don’t just put a post out and let it live, constantly optimise. Use keyword research, change imagery, posting schedule, etc

Start a conversation: Social is a two-way street and all about building a dialogue and not a monologue.

Be timely and reactive: The right content at the right time, in the right place. But always go back to first tip – authenticity is key!


About Communicator: We're a clever content agency obsessed with relationships; using a unique approach to get you closer to your audiences. To learn more visit


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The Alliance is the UK’s trade body that represents entrepreneurial and independent marketing agencies. We are a growing community of those marketing agencies that are independent in culture and entrepreneurial in spirit resulting in the creation of some of the most transformative, innovative and inspirational communication campaigns for the world's biggest brands.