Good content marketing is only as good as the context it is provided in. If brands are making good content AND taking into account the context in which it will be consumed, it won't interrupt a consumer but meet them in their day in authentic ways.
How can marketers achieve this?
Create content that people are looking for and deliver it to them on the platforms they are looking for it. This can be done by employing an insight-driven social media and content marketing strategy.
Step 1: Set measurable objectives
The start of any good strategy should begin with understanding and setting measurable goals that align with business objectives.
What do we want to achieve with our social media marketing plan? Brand building, community engagement, audience education, website traffic, database building, lead generation, online sales, or a combination of a few of these?
Step 2: Use Martech to identify data-driven opportunities
This step is key and there are multiple tools available to gather insights. BrandWatch, Hootsuite, and Meltwater are great for social listening. This helps brands get a better understanding of what target audiences are talking about, online sentiment, and what’s trending not just around a brand but around an industry as a whole.
Back up social listening data with search data. Semrush and Google Trends provide great search insights which help take the guesswork out of what people are actually looking for online.
From an audience perspective, research tools such as BrandMapp and Global Web Index provide a unique view of local consumers. This includes demographic data, online usage, interests, shopping behaviours, and much more. Lastly, do some social stalking on your competitors. See what they are doing and what audiences are saying about them. Additionally, have a look at international accounts and award-winning campaigns for inspiration.
Step 3: Develop hyper-relevant content based on insights
Relevant content is influenced by your audiences’ interests, wants, and needs. When done properly, the content will resonate with target audiences on a more personal level and drive action. Every piece of content produced should provide some sort of value to the audience consuming it. This value can be information, education, inspiration, entertainment, utility, or experience.
Step 4: Develop a content calendar
Developing a social media calendar can help you determine the right mix of content based on your marketing objectives. For example, you could choose to follow the 80-20 rule:
- 80% of posts educate, inform, inspire or entertain your audience.
- 20% of posts that directly promote your brand and drive action.
Furthermore, set up a posting schedule for where and when this content will be shared. Taking into account key dates will ensure tactical opportunities are not missed. Additionally, identifying the best time to post content based on behavioural patterns of your audience and platform analytics will help maximise reach and engagement.
Step 5: Create content designed for the channel it will be consumed on
Understanding the various platforms and the mindset of people when they are using them. This will make it easier to create high-performing content. One of the biggest misconceptions about content is that it only refers to written content, however, this is not true.
Content comes in many forms; including video, e-books, infographics, GIFs, carousels, live streams, podcasts, virtual reality, and any other types of content that people can read, listen or interact with. The audience on each social network has expectations of what they want to see on the platform. The following is a guide for the best types of content to publish on the four major social media channels; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Step 6: Distribute channel-specific content
Depending on the social media channel the content is being distributed on. Some types of content will perform better than others on specific social media channels. This is why it is so important to understand how your audiences use and interact with the different platforms. Additionally, integrating a paid media strategy with your distribution will help increase reach and engagement amongst specified target audiences.
Step 7: Evaluate performance and optimise new content
Measure the success of your strategy by analysing social media performance. Report on findings on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You may find that some strategies don’t work as well as expected, while others perform better than expected.
This will help you re-evaluate your strategy and inform small adjustments that can be made to current campaigns to improve performance. Use performance data to test different social media tactics, content pieces, and platforms against each other. Furthermore, these insights and learnings can be used proactively to inform future campaigns or digital marketing strategies.
The social media landscape is continuously changing. New networks emerge while others go through incremental changes and shifts. A successful social media marketing strategy should be robust and be informed by data and insights.
A social media strategy is no longer just a ‘nice to have’. It is now an integral part of consumer buyer journeys. Now more than ever, it's important for brands to create relevant content that audiences want to engage with.