Social first

Adapt the drumbeat and break the rules

Define the status quo. With 'social first' you take 'mobile first' a step further. Both based on 'audience first', yet the difference is in the mindset.

With mobile first you presume your audience grabs their phone and visits your website. With social first you flip the perspective from your 'end' to their 'beginning', from your website to their timeline. From a rather egocentric 'outside in', to a customer-centric 'inside out' mindset.

Produce content with their 'beginning' in mind, social content on their mobile. That is where your audience is triggered to come to your website. Create your content based on those expectations and preferences. 


Mobile first is still an illusion

We claim we are mobile first, yet the common process is still to focus on the desktop. Mobile more often than not is still derived and the adapted version. Flip this process to become more audience focussed. 

By default, develop your mobile website first, then followed by desktop optimization. On a more operational level, this means that all concepts and sketches for UX and visual design should be in iPhone or Android format.  


Social first content eco-system

Data tells about 60 to 80% of the traffic is on mobile. From a marketing perspective, most of these visitors come from organic and or paid in, uhm, social. Check out the content eco-system for this website and how I publish and distribute the content of my book. In the heart is the iPhone, not the desktop.

As I seduce and drive the traffic on LinkedIn, Twitter and Medium, I know most of the visitors are on mobile. Social is fast and easy. Hence my content also should be fast and easy in line with the rhythm and characteristics of social.


Social drumbeat

Social savvy content on a mobile website means sticking to the social drumbeat. Short reads, easy to scan and digest, fast-paced and pleasant on the eye with clear formatting and bold writing. Short. Simple. To the point. No fuzz.


High-end versus low-cost

These days of the corona crisis learns us that it actually is about the message, the content, you produce. The low-cost content that is pushed out there right now, beats the high-end professional produced posts. It is not about how beautiful you content looks, it is about what you want to tell. And if that is a bit more unpolished, a bit more raw and authentic, it actually adds to your credibility as a brand. 


Long reads

You can have long reads, just stick to the same formatting and writing style as for the short reads. When the content is relevant and adds value, people keep on reading. There is no rule about a specific number of words, the only golden rule is relevance and easy to digest.

Read more on 'Long-form content on the rise'



The visuals enhance the message and merge seamlessly with the headlines. Exciting composition, clear and crisp colors and no boring stock. The main message and promise of the content in the headline and subtitle. The important stuff first followed by the fluff.

Read more on 'how to find great visuals'

By the way, having social first content also has benefits for the not-social visitors. The easy to digest and fast-paced requirements for social first content assets also work for visitors coming from Google or newsletters. 


In reality

This all sounds pretty common sense and clear. In reality, more often than not, brands and agencies still develop for desktop first, mobile second. And they do not combine the production of the content with the social drumbeat that delivers the traffic. The fix is easy, start with social and finish with mobile. It is the pace you adopt, not your message.


Fleur Willemijn van Beinum
‘Mobile first’ and ‘social first’ are both based on 'audience first, the difference is in your mindset
Fleur Willemijn van Beinum

More on customer-centric


Define the status quo. Social first takes mobile first a step further. With social first you flip the perspective and produce content with their expectations and preferences in mind. Social savvy content on a mobile website means sticking to the social heartbeat. Short reads, easy to digest, fast pace and pleasant on the eye with clear formatting and bold writing. Short. Simple. To the point. No fuzz.