Act-On sponsored the webinar: “Where Content Marketing Meets Customer Experience” hosted by Social Media Today and moderated by Paul Dunay, Financial Services Marketing Leader for PwC, and author of the Marketing Darwinsim (“Those that don’t adapt become irrelevant”) blog. Speakers included Jamie Turner, the CEO of 60 Second Communications; Joyce Sullivan, founder and CEO of SocMediaFin, Inc.; Nicole Kroese, marketing and partnerships director at Likeable Local. This excerpt focuses on Nicole’s portion of the presentation, and has been abridged and edited for length. You can catch the entire webinar (including a discussion of social media for highly regulated industries) or read part one of this blog post series.
PAUL DUNAY: Welcome to today’s webinar, everyone… Nicole’s going to talk to us about relevancy in content marketing. So Nicole, can you take it away?
NICOLE KROESE: Sure thing, thanks so much. I’m the director of partnerships and marketing from Likeable Local. We have hundreds of different small business owners of all types who really use social media to scale their business and grow. Relevancy is really at the core of it. Relevancy is that place where customer experience can meet content marketing, because when you keep your content relevant, it actually becomes a customer service experience in itself.
I want to move into the top five reasons your customers actually want to follow you on social. By the nature of using these as a guide for your content, you actually will be more relevant and you will provide more value.
- The first reason is promotions and discounts. Your customers want to follow you, they want to be your fan, because they actually want to hear about the promotions and the discounts that you have to offer. So we’ll talk in a second about having a balance of content and whatnot. But providing promotions and discounts through your social channels will actually give your customers a reason to follow, make them excited for your next message.
- To stay in the know. So let’s say that you’re launching a new product, a new line, you have an exciting announcement, a new location, whatever it may be. That is the type of thing that you should be posting on social media. It will create that relevancy. Keeping that in line with your content strategy, you’re going to turn it into the experience that your customers want.
- Customer service. This is a huge one. If you think about a reason that someone might follow you on social media, you might not immediately jump to customer service. But it actually is a huge reason that people are starting to follow brands and different companies. Quick anecdote: Recently I was riding Amtrak, and I’ve never had a really awesome experience on Amtrak except for this one, where I was going from New York to Philadelphia. I get on the train, it is extremely hot, it is unbearably warm. And what do I do, as a social media nerd, I go out there and I start tweeting. And I tweet @amtrak, it’s really hot in this car, can you help? They immediately response — I expected very little, but they immediately responded and said, “Really sorry to hear that, what’s your train number, we’ll speak to the conductor.”
We had an exchange back and forth. And lo and behold it actually becomes cooler in the car. I immediately follow Amtrak on Twitter after that, because I so appreciated the customer service. And if you can deliver that with social media, you’ll actually really have a leg up on a lot of the other brands. You can be relevant to what the customer needs at that moment.
- Entertaining content. So this is kind of a no-brainer, but it’s really nice to hear that in the survey from the Edison research team that this was one of the top five reasons your customers do want to follow you is to provide something that delights them, something that entertains, makes them laugh, makes them smile, is inspiring. That sort of content gets great engagement and it’s the type of content you do actually want to be posting at a pretty good percentage on your pages.
- The ability to offer feedback. For some companies, especially if you’re newer to social media, this can seem like a terrifying concept. You have this place where people can give open feedback for you. But it is actually something that is really valuable to the consumer, is the ability to have a place to give their two cents, especially if they really care about the brand. Maybe they want a forum to tell you and give their idea about a feature that they really wish that you had, or about their favorite item you have, and have the ability to help sort of shape the growth of your product or the growth of your brand. So the ability to provide feedback is a reason your customers want to follow you. You should definitely take that into consideration with your content strategy.
I’m going to give tips for some ways that you can take this concept of relevancy and put it into action. This is the 10 commandments of content creation.
- The first commandment: Give your followers a reason to engage. Sometimes just simply asking for that engagement, “like if you agree,” “comment here with your favorite X,” actually asking your fans to engage and giving them a reason to. “If you comment, we’re doing a drawing of all the people who comment” or something like that, obviously following the rules of promotions or whatnot, but giving a reason to engage is key.
- Next, thinking positive. There’s been debate back and forth about the negative sell or the scare tactic. Really, you want to think positive on social. No one wants to hear someone wallowing. We all have that friend who posts those kind of snooty statuses on Facebook. You don’t want to be that person as a brand. You want to think positive, be uplifting. That is something that we consider a commandment.
- Next, remember to KISS, which is “keep it simple, stupid.” This really references the fact that our attention span, especially on social media, is not super long. We don’t expect to read an entire blog post and novel on social. We expect to read a tidbit that captures our information and then potentially sends us to a place where we can read further. So you want to keep things concise, keep them simple. You may have a really excellent vocabulary, but you want to use simpler adjectives when you’re social networking.
- Next, have a conversation. This is so important. I’ll talk about listening and responding next. But social media is a unique type of content marketing in the sense that it allows you to have banter back and forth. It’s not just a billboard; you’re not just putting information out there. You have the ability to immediately converse back and forth, respond, like, comment, share. So do have those conversations. Post content, like the first commandment says, that gives people a reason to engage in the conversation, and then keep it going.
- Next, ask yourself is it sharable? A lot of times we want to post content that is about us or about our company or about something awesome we’re doing. And that’s okay sometimes. But for the majority of your content, ask yourself is it shareable. Because if someone would not click the share button because it’s too overly promotional, then it’s not going to get a lot of traction. So you want to always be having that little conversation in the back of your head, if I were a fly on the wall would I retweet this, would I share this piece of content with a friend if I didn’t know this business or this friend intimately.
- Next, know how to properly curate. This is a really, really important one, especially because so many marketers find that content creation is one of the biggest challenges. And curation and co-creation and repurposing, those three things are what I believe are a lot of the future of content marketing. Of course we’re always striving for original content. But so many people have created so much great original content already that curation is a really, really excellent thing to do to stay relevant. And find those articles and those other blogs and those other images that personify your business as well, and curate them, and post them on your social. It will save you a lot of time and it’ll probably make you some friends in the industry as well.
- Next, be mindful of the 4-1-1 rule. This is a really important rule and is something that we try to keep in mind here at Likeable Local as well. The 4-1-1 rule basically states that for every six pieces of content:
- Four of them should not necessarily be about your business specifically, maybe something you curated, something original that is delightful or fun or encouraging or entertaining.
- One should be a piece of content from yourself that is educational in nature, so maybe a blog post that your company did.
- And one can be promotional in nature, so maybe about a special you’re running, an event you’re hosting, that sort of thing.
But out of those six you want to try to keep as close to that ratio as possible to make sure you have a well-rounded strategy and not always sort of just shouting these promotional messages at your fans. But yet you really are delivering all of the things that are a piece of the five pillars of what your fans and what your customers want to see and why they follow you.
- Next, keep it timely. This seems pretty straightforward, but of course it’s very important. You definitely don’t want to be curating and posting content of things that happened in 2007 or whatnot, unless it’s a throwback or something like that, throwback Thursday. People do like timely news.
- Use visuals to enhance your message. So image posts are definitely something that are more attractive and more appealing, especially in the Facebook realm. Visuals often make it so you can capture someone’s attention more quickly. So whenever possible try to be less text heavy, more visual, especially in the social realm, Facebook specifically, and Instagram and Pinterest of course.
- Number 10, tell a story. Social media and content marketing is so much about storytelling. And you want your content in a concise way of course to be a story, to be something that people can resonate with. And that will allow you to be more successful there.
The last piece of it really is to keep the conversation going. So you’re putting out this content, and you want to listen and respond.
This screenshot is of a customer of ours at Likeable, it’s a dentist. And sometimes people think, why would I want to follow my dentist, that is so random. But if this is actually your dentist, your doctor, you do want to follow them, you know these people. And what I like about what they did, is their post is engaging, it’s not sales-y, it’s not a pitch, it’s not free whitening. It’s that acidic foods put your teeth at greater risk for tooth decay, are you watching your acidic food intake. And one of their patients responds with a question. And the doctor responds back and is able to show their expertise.
So regardless of what your industry is, this responsiveness – whether you’re Amtrak or whether you’re Dr. Ackerman – responding and listening and keeping that conversation going in a timely fashion will be really, really powerful for creating your content marketing and engaging and also tying this in to that customer experience. Keeping it relevant.
Get the whole experience; watch the full webinar.
Stay tuned for part 3 of Where Content Marketing Meets Customer Experience, in which Jamie Turner discusses how to provoke an emotional response, and mobile content marketing.