“This is a lot more complicated than I thought.”
The more you learn about Social Media, the more you understand it’s power to connect with the customer and generate leads. You also quickly realize that it requires time, budget and an enthusiastic effort to make it work.
Social Media marketing creates value in the minds of your current and future customers. I hear from so many dealers asking really smart questions about how to create valuable marketing messages for their Facebook, Twitter, their Blog or other platforms. I always say it’s about setting an intention and creating a strategy around being the leading information provider in your community. Your goal is to become the likable expert!
Anyway you look at it, Social Media is marketing and success requires content strategy. Just like in other forms of marketing and advertising, what you say and how you say it makes a difference in converting fans into customers. You must determine who you are as a brand, identify how you want to be known.
You must also determine who your audience is. Describe them in detail. That creative process will lead you to designing the right content for them. It must be valuable to THEM, not you.
The more you can support your efforts in creating content, the more time you’ll have to give free reign to the the creative process. Ahava Leibtag, of Aha Media Group, created a helpful checklist to guide you in identifying valuable content, whether it’s your own or published by someone else:
- Findable – Can the user find the content?
- Readable – Can the user read the content?
- Understandable – Can the user understand the content?
- Actionable – Will the user want to take action?
- Sharable – Will the user share the content?
Content is the gasoline that makes Social Media go.
The first thing you do is get the right people involved. Just the other day I met with a dealer to decipher who in his store was capable and available to be the designated Social Media/Online Reputation kingpin. We assessed his “Social Resources” and now he’s ready to move forward. Social Media marketing is challenging but it doesn’t have to be. If you break it down into small bites, the solutions manifest and become crystal clear.
Once you’ve got your people and your content strategy in place, the world opens up. You may realize at this point that your staff plays an important roll in producing content for your audience. Heck, they’re working with your customer every single day so they know intimately what struggles the customer is having and what questions need answering. This is your key to becoming the trusted source in your community.
Do you have a system in place to compile the questions your customers are asking and post your answers to those questions on your Social platforms? The content opportunities that spring up from customer service and sales alone can support your content marketing strategy.
Keep in mind that it is possible to have great content strategy and mediocre Social Media strategy. Awesome content will always be awesome, but making sure people are seeing it is important too. However, the reverse is not true. If you’re producing uninteresting or irrelevant content and you have thousands of fans or followers, it won’t matter because no one will like, comment or share your stuff.
Finally, please don’t get caught up in the technology. Great apps, cool tools and gadgets are great but they exist to facilitate your content, not replace it. No one wants to connect with an app or a tool…literally! People connect with stories from other people, so remember it’s people first. They collaborate and share ideas to create relevant content. You can look to technology to help scale but that comes after people and ideas.
Your goal is to provide content around what you want to be known for that’s compelling to your audience. Google has morphed into a knowledge channel and is delivering less and less “information-only” search results. The Knowledge Graph has merged Search and Social so whether it’s your blog, Social Media or online ratings sites, make sure you’re communicating exactly what you want said and talked about. Your customer is looking for the most-trusted facts and if you can deliver those facts in a valuable way, you win.