Everyday in the digital industry we see so called Gurus and Ninjas speak and write about how business should use content and social media in marketing. They use statements like “engaging content” and be sure “your content and social media is relevant.” What the heck does that mean?
Is what’s relevant to you relevant to me? Probably not. So why don’t we look at some real-world concepts that we’ve learned in our experiences that should help answer these questions.
1. In today’s world YOUR CONTENT HAS TO CONNECT
Right after telling you how buzzwords really don’t help in writing this stuff I throw out a buzzword, but bear with me.
In order for your Content to Connect you have to put in some groundwork in research and learning about your target audience or prospects. For example:
- Who are they online?
- Where do they prefer to engage in social media? Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? All?
- Who are they within each of these platforms? Our experience shows that people interact differently in each of these platforms versus the others..therefore, your message has to change.
- How do their online activities relate to your product or service?
- What “subjects” do they interact with online that connects/correlates to your product?
Second, do some analysis on search terms that surround or relate to your product or service. You need to find out what people are searching for as it corresponds to “problems” that your particular product or service can solve. And don’t forget to research terms and subjects that might be slightly out of a direct correlation to your business. For example, an Auto Body Repair Shop should probably also research terms relating to automotive maintenance, automotive cleaning products, and auto enthusiasts (hot rods, vintage cars, vintage collectors).
The best way to think about this are the 3S’s: Search – Study – then Socialize.
Put in the research to understand the right subjects your Audience is looking for and how your product or service relates.
2. You have to CREATE THE CONVERSATION
Today’s consumers are educated and they have everything they need in the palm of their hands to grab information at a moment’s notice. So don’t try and fool them by being clever. You need to be Authentic and Authoritative, but how?
You create the conversation they want to be a part of. Remember step #1? If you’ve done your homework step #2 is rather simple. You start the conversation by “talking” with your audience, NOT at your audience. Remember our Auto Body Repair Shop? Our recommendation would be for this shop to create a video or social media post that discusses the 5 Basic Maintenance Tips for Car Owners. It’s simple, knowledge everyone wants, and it provides information that highlights the shop as an authority on everything auto.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite stories about a Yahoo travel blogger. He was waiting in line at the grand opening of the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas. He had been invited to cover the opening and obviously blog about his experience…which he did, but not to the benefit of the Aria. He had been waiting in line for quite some time when he tweeted something like…
“Been waiting a looonng time here at the @Aria just to check in. UGH.”
What was interesting is he didn’t receive a response from the Aria, but rather from the Rio Hotel. Guess what they tweeted to him?
NOPE! They simply tweeted: “We’re sorry to hear about your first couple of hours in Vegas. We hope the rest of your time here is exactly what you hope for.”
That’s brilliant! Not a sales pitch to come to the Rio, but a relatable message that began a conversation. And by the way, guess which hotel the blogger recommended to his friend getting married a month later? You got it. The Rio tracked that tweet to almost $10,000 worth of business on referrals from the blogger.
So, you Connect with: Search – Study – Socialize
You Converse with: Authenticity and Authority
3. Now the tough part: MAKE THE CONVERSION
This is the toughest part of the equation: Connect + Converse = Convert
Here you need to let it happen naturally. Through your Conversations and selling them with your solutions. Under Armour is a prime example of letting their brand and product sell itself naturally. I have a friend at UA in Marketing and their approach since day one has been to get involved at the youth level. The brand sponsored local youth athletic clubs and events, provided uniforms, etc..and turned the youngsters onto their brand message. Their belief was if I can turn on a younger individual to our brand/product/philosophy we will have them for the rest of their life…and it worked. The other thing that occurred is the parents got turned onto the brand and the rest is history. Add in their focus on brand ambassadors and the “edgy tone” and it’s one of the most successful brands in the U.S. But they did it naturally.
Conversion will not happen overnight, it’s organic and has to grow slowly. There are methods like social promotions and discounts that can drive some success, but long term steady growth needs to occur naturally. It will also create your own Passionate Promotion through your customers that promote your brand themselves. When you’ve reached that point, growth will continue!
Ok, so what’s the take home message?
Simply put, your Content/Marketing strategies should come first from your Audience NOT your Marketing Department.
You have to Listen first: Search – Study – then Socialize
Create the Conversation by: Authenticity and Authority –Talk With Them, NOT At Them
Conversion occurs Naturally: Sell them through Solutions