Think about it for a second. When you share something with your friends and family, isn’t it most often some kind of content? An article, picture, or video?
So marketers’ social strategy must start with a content strategy.
In a previous article that I wrote, “A Marketing Lesson about Brand Proliferation using Social Media,” I introduced the following diagram:
The point I was driving was you have your brand definition and position at the core of the brand reputation and your audience’s perception. Content is used to leverage your brand position. Continuous and compelling content creates a way to make sure people stay engaged with brands so that the brand is top of mind with the target audience. If that content is truly valuable, the audience will share it with their network. And those that share the most should be engaged with directly to create advocates.
You can get more on this approach at the referenced article. But what I want to touch on in greater detail is the synergy and use of a content combined with social marketing. Assuming you accept the importance that content plays in your social efforts, the next question is where should the content reside? Blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc?
The answer is you need a content hub where all your content resides. Then, social channels should be used to reference the content, proliferate the content, and to engage with the target audience.
The content hub should be tied to the brand site. Social channels should be used to present abstracts of the content and refer back (URLs) to the content hub. This is the correct approach for a number of reasons:
1) The portfolio of content should be in one place. If a user wants more brand content, they should not need to go search for it. It should be at their fingertips.
2) While social marketing is not about direct sales, certainly we do not want to miss the opportunity if your reader has that interest. Having the content directly on the site where there is also product information and ecommerce creates increased consideration and sales opportunities.
3) Given the wide breadth of social channels and users preferences, it is difficult to manage content across all channels. It is much easier to manage reference posts and engagements on the social channels.
4) We see numerous different user preferences for use of social channels for brand engagement. Marketers cannot simply assume that Facebook has 1 billion users and all the users want to use Facebook for brand engagement. Brands need to be active on all the social channels that users look to engage with brands at.
More and more, I am finding that addressing brands’ social marketing strategy is not enough. Content strategy and planning MUST be part of the strategy. Once marketers have a plan for content stylization and topics to cover, they must plan where the content resides and the best way to get it proliferated. They must also think about ways that the content builds awareness and relationships and spawns word-of-mouth marketing. At the same time there needs to be subtle ways to capture a sales opportunity when the customer is ready to buy. The content hub, social proliferation approach I suggested here accomplishes all of these goals.
Think big, execute the details, and
Make It Happen,