In a recent article, Business2Community offered some pretty obvious advice to social media marketing professionals: Don’t be boring. It’s one of those topics that seems like it should go without saying, until you realize the devil is in the details. Most anyone who sets out to create a social media marketing strategy understands that they should aspire to be interesting. But it’s not always clear what that entails, or precisely whose interest the campaign should target.

The latter question is something that ought to be addressed by the competitive analysis that precedes any well thought out social media marketing campaign. At its most basic level, that process should help clients and marketers to better understand the nature and habits of their core audience. But taking a broader view, a social media marketing consultant might want to take a look at tangential audiences, or the sorts of people that a client’s prospective customers might regularly interact with, even if they aren’t potential customers themselves.

The Business2Community article touches upon this, noting that an “un-boring angle” for some social media marketing campaigns might derive from a subject that holds the interest of both the target audience and a broader selection of social media users. Depending on the nature of a client’s business, this might underscore the problem of not knowing where to look for “un-boring” subject matter even if you know it should be the focus of your social media marketing.

The above-mentioned article gives one clear recommendation, in that it suggests focusing on the core values of a client’s business, rather than any specific product or service. This could lead to the company’s social media accounts emphasizing a particular employee culture or ongoing charitable work and community outreach. And it’s easy to see how these strategies could attract attention from staffing agencies, trade publications, non-profits in a related sector, and so on. That sort of attention then opens the door for the client’s posts to be shared across a larger circle of users, where they’re most likely to filter down to a smaller circle of potential customers.

Other sources of interest for a broader audience may include research and development that is related to a client’s industry, even if the client itself isn’t behind that research. And while this might attract the attention of users with a broad range of technical backgrounds, another social media marketing campaign could appeal to the general public by breaking down a client’s work into its simplest component parts.

If, for instance, a company manufactures specific equipment for veterinary practice, its social media accounts might make regular posts about animals, with only tangential reference to its own brand. It’s hard to overstate the general appeal of animal-related posts on social media, yet this doesn’t diminish their potential to reach a specific subset of users who have both a professional and a personal interest in the subject.

But that example is an easy one. There are certainly other types of businesses that would struggle to find a broadly appealing angle for their social media marketing without straying too far away from the work they’re trying to promote. Still, no one should assume it can’t be done. And much can be revealed through a client’s early discussions with a social media marketing consultant. Competitive analysis may tell them something surprising about who their target audience interacts with, and how. And the more one knows about these habits, the easier it is to see how to capture an online audience’s interest while still promoting a brand.