Having a robust social media strategy is essential to develop awareness for your brand. Awareness should lead to popularity and a solid social media strategy enables brands to create platforms where they get to engage with their customers. Social media is a two-way conversation and not just about sharing links on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.
To have an effective social media strategy, you must also have a pretty good content strategy because what will drive social media engagement is if your content is engaging.
For example, if a brand’s Facebook or Twitter feed is known to be funny or known to make comments on contemporary affairs (think of ‘Amul’ and its cheeky comments on current events), then social media users will flock to the brand’s Facebook page or Twitter feed expecting some funny comments.
Developing a Good Content Strategy
Content strategy is dependent on your business vertical to a certain extent. However, there are some common rules of the road that should be followed.
- Keep in mind the nature or the uniqueness of the specific social media platform in mind. Facebook and its users are different than Twitter and Twitter users. So, your content for your Tumblr blog has to be different than for Pinterest and your Facebook posts need to differ from tweets.
- What is common to all the different social media platforms is that your content should be interesting. How to make something interesting is a question with multiple different answers. If you are in the pizza delivery business, you can focus on all the different varieties of pizza and share mouth-watering photos of the same. Many brands resort to puns to drive user engagement. It can be a challenging strategy to depend on puns or funny one-liners as you would then need a constant supply of good one-liners which will require a good creative team which has a good understanding of the psychology of social media demographics and users.
- Unobtrusive advertising in its many avatars is the new way to build a brand — whether it’s a YouTube video of “20 strangers kissing” that turns out to be a clever marketing campaign or a Twitter-record-shattering Oscar selfie starring a bunch of Hollywood celebrities. Brands should try to come up with the next viral video that will attract a million views on YouTube like the clever mash-up of Game of Thrones and House of Cards created by Quiznos.
Content Marketing Tactics
The content marketing battle will need to be fought on many fronts. Businesses should choose any or all of these tactics depending on the suitability of these tactics in meeting their ultimate goal.
- Blogging — blogs are becoming increasing important for many different reasons. Blogs can be a repository of good quality content and FAQs and help guides for customers. Blogs can be optimized to appeal to search engines. Most customers resort to search engine queries to find out about products and having a good blog will ensure that such potential users will be directed to your business. Original content has become even more important after the Google Penguin and Panda updates which sought to highlight original content and which are designed to remove sites from search results that resort to various manipulative techniques such as stuffing a site with backlinks. Such “black hat” SEO techniques are no longer effective and will severely damage a site’s search engine ranking.
- Choosing Wisely — whether a business should focus on a YouTube channel or on sending updates via newsletters depends on the type of business. For businesses that are large enough, they need to go for both. If you sell a product that is a bit complicated to assemble or operate, then upload a YouTube video tutorial explaining how to assemble or operate it; then share the YouTube video on social media channels. Email marketing is great if you want to send out coupons or special offers on a weekly basis or built around popular events throughout the year.
Finally, businesses have to be savvy enough to use analytics tools to keep track of the success of various online marketing campaigns. Smart brands will learn from their own and other brands’ successes and how to avoid those embarrassing social media blunders such as the person who handles the company’s Twitter account inadvertently sending out a personal photo to all the followers on Twitter. Have a strategy in place to deal with those inevitable errors. Apologize for genuine mistakes and brands have even been known to take advantage of their embarrassing mistakes on social media and turn the error into an advantage.
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