Nail product OPI does a great job sharing news about new nail polishes, colors for different occasions, and magazine features of OPI.

At the most basic level, a content strategy establishes your brand’s “permissive topics,” i.e., the subjects relevant to your brand that you share with your community. These conversation pieces will obviously include news and updates about your product/service and industry. You can also choose to discuss topics related to your audience or areas in which you’d like to establish thought leadership.

The screenshots throughout this post provide examples of brands executing a successful content strategy on Facebook. We chose these brands because they following the No. 1 rule of a content strategy: these brands stay on topic. We’ve included RingCentral as an example because adhering to our brand topics is one of our top social strategies. Please forgive the shameless plug. Other brands featured include: Barnes & Noble, OPI and Jack in the Box.

Now let’s examine why it’s such a bad idea to share and post stories that are not part of your permissive topics. Say you’re interviewing for a job in finance and out of nowhere, you bring up “Star Wars.” Then you go back to talking about finance stuff and again, out of nowhere, you mention Van Halen. You don’t offer to explain the relevancy of  “Star Wars” and Van Halen to finance. The result is that your interviewer thinks you’re unfocused and therefore not worthy of being hired.

Apply the above scenario to a product or service you are thinking of buying. Say you’re considering a new brand of diapers, so you follow the brand on Facebook. The brand posts about new diaper products, baby tips … and motorcycles. The motorcycle posts aren’t offensive, but their relevance to diapers is unclear. It’s likely this brand will lose business (including yours) for being random.

(There are some exceptions to the rule against random content – The Jack in the Box mascot has always had a random personality, so his Facebook page is appropriately filled with random and funny posts.)

The bottom line: stay on topic or lose your audience.

Nail product OPI does a great job sharing news about new nail polishes, colors for different occasions, and magazine features of OPI.

RingCentral, a cloud-based business phone system, shares updates about new products, the cloud industry, and how-to RingCentral videos.

RingCentral has also established itself as a thought leader in business best practices by sharing tips for entrepreneurs, executives, and salespeople.

Barnes & Noble leads discussions about what it knows best: books. The company also shares posts about author events and new releases.

Barnes & Noble extends its topics with discussions related to its products. The above post features a DVD available at Barnes and Noble, and the question opens up the discussion to include movie settings.

Jack in the Box has always been random — well before Facebook came along. It’s only relevant that his Facebook page would contain random posts. They’re pretty funny, too.