Program vs Always-On Social Content

When discussing content from a marketing perspective we must be focused on what is supposed to do. And let’s be clear, it is marketing so we are trying to sell something – an idea, product or service.

The biggest problem with that statement is that we must not look at every piece of content as “selling” content. There is a time and a place to use the platforms and content to drive and offer and work as low in the sales funnel as possible. I call them “programs”. Others call them campaigns. This is an effort surrounding one theme, product or event. Usually they have their own budgets and expected outcomes.

But there needs to be content in your calendar that allows followers to fall in love with your brand. This is not possible in the selling phase. Too much to ask. But the best brands do this. Nike, Starbucks and Wendy’s to name a few. (Full disclosure – Wendy’s is a client) They create always-on content that gives the consumer or potential consumer time to relax and relate to the brand. To enjoy each other and become “friends”. This content can be funny. It can also be educational or time saving. Look at it more as brand building.

It’s a fact in the social landscape that clicks and actions are not the only viable metric. I could argue that they are not even a good metric. That’s another post. But now platforms are measuring impressions. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram do this. And they have proven, with brand-lift studies and the like that these impressions are impacting the way a consumer thinks about your brand.

Lots to consider here. But the takeaway should be to lighten up on the sales talk in your social efforts. Even just a little. And when you need to run ads in here, do it, and when you can just engage and show a softer side, do that. There is no 8-step process here.

As always, please let me know if this makes sense or if you have a different though on the subject.

Program vs Always-On Social Content

Create Unique Content for Every Platform

Create unique content for every platform you decide to engage in. Too many brands and agencies get lazy and use the same piece of content for everything. We need to provide content to consumers when, where and how they want to consume it.

As different as each platform is with time spent, visual capabilities, sharing, reach, etc. why would you think one piece of content is the best idea for all platforms? There are many excuses but none are valid.

Let’s list the reasons why we should not:
• Optimum length of type for each platform is not the same
• How images are displayed in the timeline
• How images and videos are viewed in platform
• Life expectancy of a post in each platform
• Fans don’t need to follow all platforms to get all the content
• Some people are Facebook users or Twitter users (or any other outlet)
• Those users do not consume content in the same way
• If a post fails it fails everywhere
• Social allows you to be far more targeted in efforts
• Budget to amplify for reach cannot be there if budget to create content is not

Reasons to do it:
• Lack of resources to create content
• Client “loves that post”

The reasons to do it are weak at best. If you do not have resources to produce content for all platforms you should back up. Win where you can. Choose the main 1-3 platforms you really need to be in. Then look at the others as next in line when, and if, budgets and assets allow you expand. It is better to do 1 great than it is to do 5 poorly. Use those on the outside for tactical executions for a campaign or always-on storyline. Test a d learn with them. You may find they need to move up the ladder of importance or you may conform they are where they need to be.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. You can reach out below or on Twitter.

Create Unique Content for Every Platform

BtoB vs BtoC in Social Media

A few times now I have heard someone ask if I/we have BtoB social experience. In a way I get that. Clients always want to find people and agencies with relative experience. However, in the social world my belief is that is not the question one should be asking.

After all, there is an active social conversation happening about nearly every possible topic. So how do we engage in that? How do we provide content and information that is relevant, interesting and constant to that community? Whether they are making business decisions or personal decisions they want to have a discussion.

As always, one needs to decide why you are spending time and money in social. If it is to connect with decision makers in the business world consider where they want to have these conversations. And what type of content can tell your story best?

For example a BtoB play may have a Twitter play to engage in conversation. There could be LinkedIn content in your calendar for paid reach and targeting. This is longer content than Twitter and can should be very specific to the business goals. Next there should/could be a YouTube effort. Creating content in here gives you many benefits. It helps by telling the story exactly like you want it told due to video. It is the second largest search engine behind Google Search. And Google indexes this before most all other content and gives it a higher “rating” due to it being video content. Speaking of search, there should be a Google+ page. This is also indexed immediately and given preferential treatment by Google Search. Links to dot com order pages or location pages are always great to pepper in your calendar. Repurposing good content from other platforms is acceptable. Next level and usually more intimidating than even YouTube is a blog. Creating long form content for brands has always been difficult. But can the agency do it? Maybe you need to hire subject matter experts to do it on your behalf.

Notably missing from the list is Facebook. It may or may not be relevant. There is no advertising platform available that can give you more data on the consumer or potential consumer than Facebook. They can target like nobody else and they can give reach in scale that very few can. Consider the context for the target. If, in general, they use this to share kid photos and connect with relatives this is likely not the place to sell them on how awesome your widget can be for their fleet. And keep in mind this will cost. Facebook organic reach is essentially at zero now. So a budget is needed.

I suggest giving different levels of possible engagement. In sequence from above it would be Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and a blog. Move the consumer up the ladder of content consumption. Help them and make the life easier or better. Tell them stories that you want but make sure it is relative to them and not a big-company message that you bark out.

As with all marketing efforts decide on KPIs. Set goals and run towards them. Use micro and macro insights to adapt. There are infinite possibilities but typically they should ramp up to business objectives.

So after the whole rant I come back to connecting and story telling. The question that should be asked is, “how do we connect with the target in an already-active social community?” Stop getting hung up on the industry or the product. If you are willing to engage in conversation there is a place for you and your brand in social media.

BtoB vs BtoC in Social Media

Keeping Up With Social Platform Changes

So many times I am asked by coworkers and clients about the best way to keep up on the platforms and their ever-changing ways. The way to do it is through their blog.

Every major platform has a blog and they update it frequently with their updates and improvements. Below are the links. I suggest you add them to your favorites and check them regularly.

You can use these to learn and be the hero when updating clients.

#ProTip: many of them are Tumblr based. Use the +follow to have them show up in your Tumblr feed.

Twitter
Twitter has many. This is the Advertising version.

Vine

Facebook

Instagram

Tumblr

Pinterest

YouTube

Snapchat

LinkedIn

Google

Keeping Up With Social Platform Changes

Social Media is like a Dinner Party

Imagine finding a new friend at work. This friend is excited to add you to their list for an upcoming dinner party. You can’t imagine the people you will meet. Your new friend seems like she has an interesting background. Maybe has similar hobbies or maybe her partner does. So you mark it on your calendar, buy a bottle of wine or small gift and look forward to the night.

The night of the party arrives. You knock on the door. She opens. There’s smiles around. Maybe a hug or a handshake. Others are mingling and laughing. You walk in the middle and up to a group and say, “Don’t you like my brand and wouldn’t you like to buy my widget right now? Or can I show you the new TV spot we finished on YouTube? Or you should sign up for this email list.” Come on. Imagine if you did that. Better yet, imagine if someone did that to you. You would find every way to talk to someone else and likely about that person. So don’t do that in social media.

Social media is an already-active community that has billions of people with hundreds of times that number of topics. Engage with those people and understand they are not there because they are dying to consume your message. Create interesting content that will give them a smirk or a piece of information. Engage in small conversations that over time “build a friendship.” They know you are posting on this platform, and others, because you have a product or service to sell.

The long play will be far more fruitful and actually open you up to so many more social stories and types of content you can engage in. And hopefully, you have friends who, through social media, invite their friends to your dinner party.

Social Media is like a Dinner Party

Storytelling in Social Media

Since the beginning of time stories have been part of human’s lives. I imagine a good hunting story around the fire about how that Giant Mammoth got away was commonplace. Religious beliefs were passed along through stories before being written down. Every time friends and family get together there are stories told.

So why is it most brands have issue when it comes to telling stories in social media? It happens all the time in “traditional media.” Why is it that the series of Facebook posts for a month can be so scattered? Or an under-performing product post is dropped in the calendar? Because it’s easy to say “why not?” if you don’t know what your voice is and what story you are trying to tell.

To be specific, one doesn’t need to tell one story at a time. You can have different things going on and should. We don’t appreciate that aunt that says the same thing every time you see her and we won’t appreciate if a brand does it. Stories do need to be tied into an overall goal of the brand. This is how we define “The Role of Social”. The role of social can be as simple as making the brand cooler. It can be specific to an audience. It can be anything that is tied into ROI set for social.

The easiest way to decide on what stories to tell happens best at a dry-erase board. Start by writing things down that your brand should and can own. Overall thoughts and insights from knowledge of your consumer. Is it that they have an affinity for your brand because it reminds them of their childhood? Or even better, does it remind them of their childhood and their grandparents? Work that. Give them content that can take them to that place for even a minute. A series of these posts over time will put a smile on their face and likely a deeper affinity to your product or service. Build on the story and see where it goes. Are you getting engagement? If so, keep it going. If not, add in another story. We have clients with 5 stories going at one time. We, also, have clients with a couple.

When you have the stories decided the next thing is the story arc. Where are you in the beginning and where do you want to be in a few weeks or a month? Outline it or even write a brief so you can have it in hand and introduce it to anyone that wants to contribute content. In our case that’s a creative person. In another case it could be a product manager down the hall that wants to add in content.

As you launch this story keep an eye on the performance and be critical. If it doesn’t “work” kill it and go another direction. We need to provide content in an already-active social world. Consumers don’t care what we want to tell them. They want something to make their day easier, better or more fun.

In the end, consider your social media as a dinner party. You want to meet the people around you and have small engagements that build over time into a friendship. You don’t want to shake their hand and immediately ask them to buy something. Well, at least you shouldn’t. Tell them a story and make them smile or think about something in a different way.

 

Storytelling in Social Media