Great content flows in the heart of social media marketing.
It attracts visitors to sign up as fans, improves post engagements, and increases click throughs to your website.
Like Rome, great content isn’t built in a day. You’ll need to invest time and energy to produce a decent pipeline of social media content which trigger interactions and ignites action.
Fortunately, there are ways to short-cut your learning process. I call these the 6 Cs of social media content production, ie:
- Create brand specific content
- Curate wider interest content
- Connect with your community
- Collaborate with like-minded partners
- Circulate to amplify your content efforts
- Contract out to tap the strength of specialists
Let’s look at each of these in detail.
#1 Create Brand Specific Content
As a social media trainer, I encourage my learners to experiment with their own social media content creation and to try it out in-house. After all, nobody knows their products or markets as well as they do.
However, there are limits to what you can create if you are part of a small outfit. So what sort of social media content should you focus on creating?
- Brand storytelling: eg founder’s backstory, behind-the-scenes, product origins, R&D
- Customer experience stories: eg testimonials, case studies, use-case scenarios
- Product-specific content: eg Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), technical support, troubleshooting tips
- Company news: eg product launches, product showcases, company events, announcements
- Sales and marketing: eg product offers, contests, promotions, event invites
#2 Curate Wider Interest Content
Focusing purely on your company’s content isn’t enough. You’ll need to consider the wider sphere of your customer’s concerns, challenges and interests beyond the immediate scope of your product.
This is where content curation comes in.
In social media marketing, curated content could include any of the following:
- Thought leadership: eg insights from influencers, research findings, latest developments
- Industry focus: eg new products or services, breaking news
- Helpful customer-centric content: eg expert guides, problem solving tips, “How To” videos
- Edutainment: eg “viral” videos (related to your customer interest and trade), memes, infographics, inspiring quotes
The good thing about content curation is that it relieves you of the burden of producing all of your own content, allowing you to tap on the collective wisdom of the crowd.
#3 Connect with Your Community
Publishing and sharing of content on social media channels isn’t enough. You’ll need to build and sustain an online community.
Here are some simple tactics you can adopt to grow your social media following:
- Start a Facebook Group or Page, and invite all your contacts to be a part of it.
- Start a Twitter account, and begin tweeting useful information. Use it to respond to customer queries.
- Start a corporate LinkedIn account, and use it to profile your company
- Establish a regular content publishing schedule
- Address your community’s feedback, especially the negative ones!
- Roll out contests and promotions to engage your community
Read this article to learn more about community building.
#4 Collaborate with Like-Minded Partners
As a new player in social media marketing, you’ll need all the help which you can get. This is where forming mutually beneficial partnerships come in.
Reach Out to Influencers
Start following the influencers in your field, and participate actively in their communities. See who their fans are and evaluate if they are suitable for your products or services. If so, find a way to engage them, be it through media invites, product/ service samples, sponsored benefits, or paid content.
Form Alliances with Related Businesses
Don’t try to go it alone if you lack critical mass or resources. Instead, partner businesses offering complementary or related trades.
For example, if you manage a confectionery shop, you could partner your neighbourhood shops to launch a month-long Instagram campaign. The spotlight could be on different shops each week, showcasing Instagrammable product images and providing useful customer tips.
During that period, participating shops could cross-promote each other’s Instagram accounts and encourage their followers to follow the “spotlight shop”.
#5 Circulate: Sharing, Scheduling, and Advertising
Having good social media content isn’t enough. You’ll need to promote it to your widest possible audience in a cost effective fashion.
To do so effectively, there are three actions which you’ll need to take:
- Sharing: Ensure that you share each new piece of content on all your social media channels, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or WhatsApp. You could also tap on an email automation tool (like MailChimp) to send out updates to all your subscribers.
- Scheduling: Don’t share everything all at once. Instead, try to stagger the timings of your social shares to coincide with the optimal timings for each of your channel. You can use a tool like HootSuite or Buffer app to help you determine the best timings as well as to schedule your posts in advance.
- Advertising: Depending on organic shares alone isn’t enough. These days, you’ll need to boost your content using native ads to reach a good-sized audience. The most cost effective way to do so is to invest in Facebook advertising (learn the basics here).
#6 Contracting – First Stop or Last Resort?
Social media marketing is one of those strange things that are easy to learn, but difficult to master. At times, it makes more sense for you to outsource content production to an agency staffed by talents who eat, breathe and live social media.
Before you do so, ask yourself the following questions:
- Where are the gaps in your current in-house team?
- Which content areas would enjoy the greatest benefit from outsourcing?
- What are the costs and benefits of working with an agency?
- What are your goals, objectives and deliverables for the agency? (Consider crafting a detailed social media marketing brief)
- How would you measure your social media marketing ROI?
Applying the 6 Cs
Unlike traditional marketing efforts, successful social media marketing lies in building long-term relationships.
It is about creating and curating useful and valuable content, building a tight-knitted community, and sharing and spreading your influence as widely as possible.
To succeed in this space, you’ll need a systematic process to guide you along. That’s where I hope the 6 Cs could come in.