This poll analysis was written by Jeremy Victor, president of Make Good Media and editor-in-chief of B2Bbloggers.com. For more of his writing, visit B2Bbloggers.com and follow him on Twitter and Google+.
SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.
Analyzing the results of our poll questions over the past couple of weeks, I developed a hypothesis that I wanted to test this week. So we asked you to complete this statement: “If I could change one thing about my social media marketing initiative, it would be …” The results:
- Improved content strategy: 27.11%
- More resources: 22.89%
- Better metrics: 15.06%
- Getting it started: 15.06%
- Broader executive buy-in: 10.24%
- Ending it: 6.02%
- Scaling it back: 3.61%
This data confirms my suspicion: Improving content strategy is our readers’ leading challenge when it comes to social media marketing. The good news is that out of all the options, it is the one that you have the most control over. With some planning and taking note of the tips below, you can make real progress toward improving.
First and foremost, as I’ve mentioned several times in past columns, your social media content and communication needs to follow one basic principle — the key to creating successful social media relationships is by providing your audience with information that it finds timely, helpful and useful. With that as our guiding principle, use these five tips to improve your content strategy.
- Write for someone, not everyone. Target your content to individuals and their specific pain points. In the B2B context, match your content to your target (C-level decision maker vs. end user, for example). For effective content, one size never fits all. And remember, it is a human being whom you are communicating with, so …
- Appeal to logic and emotion with your content. The most persuasive content addresses the logical side of the mind with quantifiable justification for a purchase and the emotional side with the promise the purchase fulfills. Don’t ignore what motivates your customers to buy in your content.
- Get the timing right. Whether it be a flat-screen TV or an enterprise software application, purchasing decisions today take longer. A recession has a way of doing that to consumer and corporate spending. In that environment, taking a staged view of your content marketing strategy enables you to create relevant communications based on where customers are in the buying cycle.
- Answer why and how. Tell them why they need your product and how it solves their problems and pains. Focus on solution and benefit. Strive to become a trusted source of information and content for your industry and the challenges its professionals face.
- Categorize your content. Conversational vs. educational vs. promotional. This concept is one that causes a lot of light bulbs to go on when I am working with clients. Most often the reason is that they’ve never considered the idea of generating and planning conversational content ideas. The social Web has often been referred to as one giant cocktail party. No one likes the guy who is constantly selling everyone. So you need topics that you can write about that will stimulate conversation. Pose questions, make statements about industry trends, have a side on topical issues. Planning your approach to this form of conversational content is just as important as any other.
My hope is that you find these tips timely, helpful and useful (remember our basic principle) and that you will continue to improve your content strategy. Feel free to pose your questions in the comments, I’ll be glad to help.