In today’s knowledge-based, sharing economy, we need to figure out how we can really engage our customers. It’s gone beyond simple tweets and Facebook updates. We have to examine how we can really become interesting to our customers and make them care about our products and services today because they have an almost limitless number of options.
Social marketing should always start with clear objectives. Once we determine what are our goals are, we must resolve how we’re going to get there. What we post on Social Media says a lot about the business and the cornerstone to our marketing is a focused content strategy. Ultimately, it all comes down to our ability to fill the Social Media engine with consistent, relevant content. For the coming year ahead, that means dealerships have to think and act more like publishers.
I hear a lot about “Social Media Strategy”. Forget about a Social Media strategy until you figure out what your content strategy is. What’s going to make you interesting, what’s going to make people want to follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook? It’s going to be because you add some kind of value to their lives. It’s not because you send them an advertisement.
This week I had the fortune to participate in a Twitter chat with one of the leading thought leaders behind the content marketing and Social Media movement, Joe Pulizzi. He’s been promoting content marketing for 10 years and written volumes about it as most people were just waking up to the idea.
Joe defines content marketing as “compelling, relevant content delivered to a customer/prospect to drive a profitable customer action.” There are many ways to deliver content: Blogs, Facebook posts, tweets, videos, newsletters, events, infographics, mobile content, podcasts and ebooks.
I asked Joe what how he sees car dealerships and other small businesses tackling the challenges of content marketing. He said, “Small business needs to really find their niche. Go smaller. Focus on where you can be the leading expert in the world.”
I asked Joe how he saw employees’ role in Social Media and content creation. He gave me some gems.
“Employees are most valuable content marketing resource.”
The best, most efficient way to get great input about your customers’ true desires is through your front-line personnel. They are the people who interact with your customers everyday. Their insight can help create content that delivers the highest value to your customer/prospect.
“Leverage employees, but first find a managing editor to make their content rock.”
Designate a key person to oversee your content. This Social Media Manager will facilitate content ideas, field all submissions by your staff and basically serve as an editor to your store’s “publishing house”.
“Don’t make employees edit their own content. Just get the content assets (expertise) any way you can.”
Set up some internal systems to motivate those employees who agree to contribute. Some might want to write a blog post; others a video; and still others will want to photograph events. Tap into everyone’s expertise and don’t discount any contribution.
“Employees lend more voices and a human face to the brand.”
Social Media marketing is hard. Content marketing is more difficult when you try to do it alone. There is strength in numbers. Crowdsource as much as you can. Use the power of the collective knowledge in your employees. They are who your customers connect with and trust most.