Forget about a social media strategy, think content
As the power of traditional outbound marketing activities waivers – e.g. direct mail, email or telemarketing – you have to ask yourself how you can reach and influence buyers in other ways.
Content marketing is not a new phenomenon, just a new term for what many astute marketers have been doing for a long time – providing their target audience, be it buyers or influencers, with compelling and useful information that aids decision making.
So why are we saying that a content strategy is more important than a social media strategy? In essence, social media just gives us the forum to disseminate information – be it thoughts, findings or genuinely helpful information. It’s what you put out there that is important. Content you create should ultimately persuade buyers to choose your offerings and services over your competition, and to define the type of content you should be creating, you need to consider the buying process.
A typical buyer goes through four stages: defining a need/ identifying solutions/ identifying suppliers/ choosing suppliers. Every piece of content you create should enable your audience to travel further along the buying cycle. Remember - buyers want to make informed decisions that not only move their business forward, but that also minimise the risk to themselves and their organisations
This is critical to understand, because the content you create needs to help target these individuals to solve their challenges at each stage – or someone else will.
So, in order of priority here are what we believe to be the most effective ways of delivering valuable content:
1. Case studies and testimonials
2. Live, face-to-face presentations
3. Webinars using GoToMeeting for example
5. Online articles
7. Blog posts
8. Slideshows: presentations delivered via sharable platforms such as Slideshare
9. eBooks: digital versions of brochures, catalogues, etc.
10. Infographics: your proposition through graphics
11. Podcasts: recordings of relevant information
But how to get that content in the right place?
If you work with channel partners, the answer is to use content management tools that allow you to tag and segment content by type (e.g. case studies) and target audience (e.g. public sector) BEFORE you share it, and then let your channel partners publish that content themselves using their own social media presence. Simple!
Actively ‘build’ content and – if it’s in the right place and of the right nature – your audience will pick up and share that content using the multi-faceted communication platforms that now exist - aka social media!
Olivier Choron is Founder and CEO of purechannelapps™. With socialondemand™, a web-based solution from purechannelapps, channel partners can select and publish their suppliers’ end-user content to their own social media accounts - all in real-time and without having to manually sign in to their social media accounts.