Source: jcrew.com

A best practice in social media is to avoid talking only about yourself. That's the old way of media: one-sided, push-driven, no dialogue, self-serving.

But how do you talk about yourself and your product? Luckily, there are ways to do this without being off-putting.

When creating content, it's important to keep in mind what your users want most: relevance. They want your advertising, marketing, and content to be useful.

If you offer relevant information and context, it provides leeway to talk about yourself without violating the new norm of two-way conversations in digital marketing.

Here are 4 ways to do this.

1. Use appropriate brand terminology and positioning.

J.Crew has had a catalogue for ages, and like any catalogue, its original purpose was to drive direct sales and promote the season's products.

Recently, J.Crew began calling their catalogue a "Style Guide." This difference in terminology shifts the positioning for customers. A style guide is more like a magazine than a boring booklet with the same layout and standard format for each page.

2. Provide ideas about integrating the product into the customer's life.

To ensure that the "all about the product" approach does not appear to be a one-sided push, J.Crew makes sure that they're style guide layout is visually-stimulating, much like what users would see in a fashion magazine. The result is that the process of reading the catalogue provides entertainment value as well.

3. Offer tips from internal experts.

The style guide features tips and quotes from employees who are experts in merchandising, design, and personal styling. This demonstrates thought-leadership and expertise, as well as a passion for the industry.

For example, if J.Crew offers five ways to wear white denim, they will feature examples using their own product. But the tips can be applied to similar products that the customer already owns, making the information useful even for customers who don't purchase right away.

4. Make your content and messaging consistent across owned, earned, and paid media.

Brands work hard to create great content. Some of it can take advanced planning and significant resources, especially photoshoots or creative layouts.

In order to get the most mileage out of your brand content, it's important to be consistent across customer touchpoints to drive your brand message home. These places include your own website, social media sites, print materials, store aesthetic, and display ads. 

If a customer is impressed by a catalogue's crisp design, then sees a display ad that shows stale messaging and static creative, it causes a disconnect.

The way to mitigate this, and to extend your brand content to new audiences, is by publishing the same engaging content directly to display ads across the web via paid media publishing. In this way, a brand's messaging will be relevant across every customer touchpoint.