The first two things that need to be fully understood in order to develop a social media content strategy are:
1. What is content marketing?
2. Why social media?
Now, these may seem like fairly simple concepts for marketers to understand – they’ve certainly been around for a few years now and most professionals and non-professionals alike think they know the answers; but let’s just dissect them a little.
First up, content, or content marketing, represents the new age of marketing. Traditional marketing has been shaken up with new technologies and is no longer effective; what content marketing offers is the opportunity to draw new customers in with engaging, relevant content that can really grow a healthy customer relationship. The key aspect is that it is an ongoing process that can be incorporated into an overall marketing strategy.
Next: social media. Again, hardly a new concept – but something that needs to be understood before a strategy can be made. Social media is one of the most effective and quickest ways of communicating with customers in the modern business world. It increases brand exposure, encourages open discussions with customers, generates leads and is free.
So the next question is: How do you combine the two?
1. Get online
Step up company profiles on various sites – it doesn’t matter if they don’t have the right audience using the platform at this initial stage, the account can always be deleted if it’s ineffective. The best way to learn is to get to know the sites first-hand; experiment and see what can be gained from the different platforms.
2. Make content part of the marketing mix
Make sure content is part of any overarching marketing strategy – this is a must, otherwise a company will have nothing to share on their social profiles! Make the case to marketing professionals that content is the future (which shouldn’t be hard to do) and try to get things kick-started as soon as possible; whether it’s a tentative first tweet or full-blown blog series.
3. Recognise your audience
After getting online, get to recognise the target audience on each site and start to analyse what it is they look for and share. Try to differentiate between the audiences on different sites (if there are any), work out what appeals to them and what they respond to most.
4. Understand social media metrics
Work out what it is those high-up in a company want to accomplish from creating a social media presence and try to tailor content to meet these goals – whether they be gain more followers, generate interactions or create more traffic.
5. Align content with social media
Use the insights gained from point 3 and 4 to make sure the content itself works with the online audiences and is something they want to see. Next, try to make it work for the company by meeting some of the social media marketing goals. Send tweets and publish articles at specific times that will generate traffic, or encourage users to follow and interact with the use of hashtags and keywords.
6. Discover the company/brand voice
Once the audience has been recognised, the content strategy laid out and posts have started to be publish, start to work out what the company voice is. Social media is all about communication, so create a suitable tone and persona to use when talking with customers on the platform and this will help build a strong relationship with them that they will hopefully cherish.
7. Tailor & curate
As content marketing is an ongoing and ever-evolving practice, as the company/brand voice develops so too should the content itself. Always take time to evaluate the content and curate it appropriately, tailoring it for shifting moods or trends, or answering specific questions that have been raised.
8. Always analyse
Whether this means following competitors to see what they’re up to, utilising data from various social media metrics, or simply asking followers for their humble opinion on how your content is going down – always aim for improvement. Seek to improve social content by staying updated on new Google algorithms, new sites and new trends.