I remember when social media really started to gain some traction. More people were using it, and some creative business folks figured out how to use it for their organization. However, there were a lot more people in business that believed social media is for kids, fluff and fun. That's it. It had no value beyond that. I remember a CEO saying, "Twitter is for twerps".
Now it's 2017, and several companies have realized there is value in social media. However, many are still trying to figure out how to make it work. One of the biggest roadblocks is transitioning from many of the traditional marketing and sales approaches to more content-driven/consumer-centric strategies.
As we get closer to 2018, social media/content strategies are no longer something you can brush off or consider later. Just like the days where companies realized they could use social media, today's environment sees companies taking more drastic measures to adapt to the times.
This includes removing the CMO from the organization and turning their marketing departments into customer experience or publishing departments. I've worked for CEOs and managers that didn't take social/content strategies seriously, and I wonder if they've noticed that even big brands like Coke are making changes. (Listen to the audio above to hear more.)
One of the things you can do to help your social media and content efforts is OUTSOURCE some of the workload. I'm here to help!
Keeping with the theme of supporting your social media marketing teams, today's audio blog is about investing in the transformation of a Marketing Department to a PUBLISHING Department. I'll start with an insight that came from my Social Media Marketing Certificate courses. Specifically, I'll touch on a section that featured insights on Taco Bell's Social Media War Room.
I also talk about Richie Kawamoto's effective strategies for getting companies to tell their stories through blogs like these:
What if Your Business Story Became a Movie?
A Brand Story on Social Media Requires a Budget
Richie Kawamoto on Twitter
If you're interested in a Social Media Certificate with Northwestern University, visit Coursera!
If I can help you produce content, just fill out the form below!
I was thrilled to see Mark Schaeffer's blog about three big social media problems that aren't social media problems. Specifically, it was great to see him point out how lack of management support can ruin even the best of plans or the most creative of social media employees.
In this audio blog, I expand on this even further with an example from my own personal experience.
In 2007, I was hired as an On-Air Fundraising Producer at the North Texas NPR affiliate. At the time, fundraising goals were coming up short, the drives were taking forever and they were getting complaint calls from listeners. It was my job to develop a brand new content and messaging strategy in order to right the ship.
Fortunately, I was successful.
Even though I improved how our team asked for money on-air, I found myself wondering if there was anything more I could do with that strategy. Even if we gave a clear reason why people should donate...the audience knew we worked there. So, in their mind, we were basically getting paid to share messages about why they should give.
So, I decided to invite donors to come to the station and record interviews about why they give and why they think it's important for others to do so. I didn't script any of it. I interviewed them, edited their comments down to the best answers and put a music bed underneath it all. I produced several of these, and each person had their own story.
In 2017, you could say testimonials are impacting all kinds of companies. Just like in my experience, they make a significant impact on how people decide to spend money. You have to be aware of what your customers are saying about you.
Many organizations may not realize that there are testimonials about their business being shared right now. Even worse, if a lot of bad things are being said, it has likely hurt their bottom line. Thanks to social media, blogs and websites (like Yelp), more and more consumers are making decisions based on:
1. Suggestions from friends/family online
2. Reviews posted by other consumers
3. Content produced about a company/product
This is why marketing departments need to make sure they can evolve past their reliance on advertisements and develop content that engages an audience. People trust their peers WAY more than than an advertisement. This trend is consistent with my own habits. I frequently do searches for content and reviews written about a company or product before taking the next step in the purchasing process. In fact, I have even searched company reviews on Glassdoor before applying for a job.
Social media has given the consumer a lot more power. They know how to do the necessary research before making a purchasing decision. That's why about 70% of the decision to buy has already been made before the customer even makes contact with you.
So, now your content and messaging strategies have to incorporate testimonials as well. You need to know what people are saying about you. If it's negative...you need to engage them in new ways, improve their experience and change their mind. If you have people who love you, turn those people into advocates for your brand.
Develop your own content that features quotes and testimonials. Engage your audience on social media, and make it easy for them to express their love of your company, product or brand.
Simply put, you need to care about what other people are saying about you. Your target audience cares, and they're already listening.
"That won't work for our company."
"We don't need a content calendar."
"Just post whatever on (Facebook/Twitter) and promote us."
"We know we should develop a content/social strategy. We'll get around to it sometime."
These are some of the responses I have gotten from former bosses when I pleaded with them to develop a social media strategy. Over the years, I've heard colleagues share similar workplace experiences with me. The first and third quotes are the most troubling. One is not true, and the other needs to realize that "sometime" is now or never.
Even though I have experience with social media and content marketing, I recognize that I need to expand my knowledge. So, I've begun the coursework to get a Social Media Marketing Certificate from Northwestern University. I can tell you just in the early days of the program, I've gotten a broader understanding of how the marketing landscape has evolved in recent years.
I've seen insights and stats that clearly show why effective social media strategies are so imperative in today's marketplace. I realized if I didn't know some of this data, those bosses probably didn't know them either. Therefore, it could be one of the key reasons why so many businesses have not embraced social media. This realization began with sessions featuring Professors Randy Hlavac and Judy Ungar Franks. Franks discussed the "chaos" seen in the marketing space today. She pointed out that the media ecosystem has evolved from a Newtonian Machine to more of an Einstein Landscape.
You chose a media that you completely understood in purpose and functionality.
You didn't have to worry about excessive media overlap.
You could put 90 percent of your resources in one media, and go light on the others.
Content was straightforward and predictably sequential. It launched from Point A and traveled directly to Point B. You rarely had to worry about any kind of disruption.
There is media overlap - think about how much of it is seen on a screen.
Now you have to combine media in order to provide the user with more fully engaging experiences.
That same user (or customer) can take your content and continue its journey via another media circuit.
At the center of it all is this - the consumer now CONTROLS the marketplace. As an audience, they are now a recipient and an accelerate of your content. Companies and brands have to recognize this and learn about media/brand management. This is because you can't take old-school traditional marketing strategies and effectively use them in the new media.
In IBM's "Any" Challenge, they highlighted that companies have to be consumer-driven because they control the marketplace. You have to tailor to them and provide them with a consistent experience on all platforms.
One of the most powerful ways the consumer controls the market space is through suggestion. An extremely popular reason why people buy something is due to a friend or family suggestion seen online. Plus, several top search results for the top 25 largest brands come from user-generated content (i.e., blogs about products/brands).
Social media is not just a fun fad. It is a fundamental shift in communication and it's now the number one activity on the web. If that wasn't enough to get attention, this certificate program bombarded me with some amazing statistics like:
The ROI of social media is your business will still EXIST in five years.
Eventually that number is going to go from years to months. By that time, trying to finally embrace social media will be even harder because you'll be so far behind.
The clock is ticking. So, embrace it and learn it.
If you take too long to learn about a platform or strategy, your audience may have already found something new. That's the point - consumers and competitors in the social media realm are going to move on with or without you.
Obviously, I highly recommend getting training through certificate programs like the one I'm taking at Northwestern. Here pretty soon, I'm going to have a better way to explain to companies why they should invest in social media marketing and provide them with an even more effective way to drive it.
If you're trying to grow your following on Twitter, there are several things you can do. There are some universal strategies that tend to work, and some ideas that may only work for some people. At the end of the day, I think the most important thing you can offer a potential follower is VALUE. With that in mind, here are some things I think Twitter accounts can reduce in order to be more valuable.
Automatically Generated Messages
There is nothing more robotic and anti-personal that an automatic message that gets triggered after you follow someone. This is especially true if it's some sort of pitch to buy, visit or follow something. This has been around so long it's obvious when it's done. At least try to fool somebody!
One tip-off is usually that it doesn't address someone by name. If you're going to send a message, please do that. Show that you care, and you're making a genuine attempt to connect or start a conversation. If this is truly SOCIAL media, let's not make an algorithm do all of the communicating for us.
Twitter Feeds That Feature Nothing But Posts and Promotion
Look, I understand that promotion and sharing content is part of what makes your account valuable. However, can you show us there is a human behind the account from time to time? I think it's a much better representation of your presence if I see you tweet to someone, tweet something original or even reply to someone on a regular basis. It just looks like your Twitter feed is more than just a posting service.
Twitter Feeds That Feature a Bombardment of Promotion
Again, it's social media, and therefore people aren't there to be hammered with sales pitches or self-promotion. I think it's better to pick your spots after you've spent 90 percent of your time sharing other content of value AND interacting with other people. It's all about being a little less "look at me" and a little more "engage with me".
Now, I realize someone could say, "Hey, Scott...I have 2 bazillion followers! What do you know?" I would say there are plenty of films that made a lot of money at the box office, but it doesn't mean it was an awesome movie. I'm not suggesting what you're doing is wrong, I just think you could add even more value with a couple of tweaks.