Connecting people in a digital realm is one of several reasons for social media’s existence. Whether or not it successfully connects people or leaves us more crippled and isolated than before is a discussion for another time, but there is, if nothing else, a facade of community and interconnectedness on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The ability to capture and leverage that sense of unity in your social media marketing can help engage followers and build your brand. There are infinite possibilities to do this, but one of chillest, easiest, and no-brainer ways is by harnessing the power of universal content.
So, what is universal content, you ask? Almost every account has it, and you’ve probably liked, shared, or commented on it at some point in your social media surfing. It’s the fairly domestic, goofy, light-hearted content that capitalizes on universal human experiences in order to relate to followers. Some popular themes in this category include: struggling through Mondays, being pumped about the weekend, loving coffee, binging Netflix shows, being unnaturally infatuated with your pet, and other first world obsessions and problems. The list could go on forever, which is what makes it a gold mine for content marketing.
For the social accounts I manage, universal content posts are the most successful in terms of engagement (so much so that I invented a term to categorize them on our content calendar). Why do people engage exponentially more with these posts than others? I don’t have any qualitative data on that, but if I had to guess, I’d say because people like, share, and engage with things they can relate to on social media.
This phenomenon is responsible for bringing you relatable content like this:
And definitely this:
There are infinite iterations of this gif. It’s so simple and so domestic, but people love it because leaving work on Friday is a first world universal experience we can all get behind. So, how can you do this for your brand?
Think about experiences that will resonate with your audience.
To use it effectively in your marketing, brainstorm the things your audience goes through on a daily basis and find something (a meme, a caption, a gif) that is relevant to them or that experience. Once you know what to look for, it’s so easy. Plus, there’s a wealth of ready-made content just waiting for you to use. I got all the gifs in this post here. It’s also important to consider the fact that universal experiences will vary depending on the size of your audience and whether or not your followers are local, national, or international. You get extra points for staying up-to-date with pop culture and taking in your daily does of memes, for doing so will surely inspire you.
Make it your own.
More likely than not, your followers relate to facets of your brand already. Combining that with daily experiences your audience has apart from your brand is a catalyst for engagement. You can get inspiration from universal content like the gifs above and create a version that is specific to your brand. Take OU’s social media for instance. We took the “leaving work on Friday” meme and made an iteration of it that makes sense to our audience by using an iconic statue on campus. On a short week for students, we posted this:
And our followers loved it. Today is the Friday before Spring Break for our students, so I’m going to reinvent this content again for today. That’s the beauty of universal content. It’s a never-ending well.
Everything in Moderation.
Universal content is great for engaging and growing your audience, but beware. For though it is universal, it’s superficial and your audience will get tired of it. You can only say goals, Monday vibes, or office views, so many times before your audience thinks, I guess this is a meme account now?
Which brings me to my next point…
Mix it up.
Your more specific content may not resonate with as many followers as your universal content, but it serves a different and equally important purpose. Sprinkle in the universal content to surprise and delight your audience, but legitimize your brand by making quality long-form content that adds value to your account. That can take form as an article, playlist, podcast, video, infographic, listicle, quiz, or a super informational blog. *wink*
In short, universal content is simply relatable content. It’s goofy and light-hearted and really fun for your followers, which makes it great for engaging them. It can also provide quick and entertaining pieces during slow periods for your brand. Use it in moderation and you will reap the rewards of likes, shares, and lols.
Leave questions or comments lest you prove we truly are more isolated in the digital age,