Recently I attended a Social Media Day about Content Marketing; a very hot topic nowadays. And no wonder…Google is finally capable of ranking websites based on the quality and relevance of their content, and Social Media Marketing without a clever Content Strategy is just impossible!

To be honest I’m always a bit sceptic to go to these kind of conferences in Belgium:

  • the speakers are often the same (which I blame on the size of our country)
  • chances are very high that they are presenting cases I’ve seen a 1000 times (probably my own fault since I’m a maniac)
  • they are doing a sales talk instead of inspiring the audience and providing knowledge (those kind of people should get in touch with me for a workshop called “Selling without Selling”)

This time however I must admit it was worth going, and I would like to share with you what stuck with me after the conference:

#1 Don’t forget your goals: what do you want to achieve with your content?

What I liked most was the interactive workshop by Xaviera Ringeling – owner of Contentchefs and Content Specialist. We were briefed about a case, and had to come up with a content marketing strategy for a fictional company, and afterwards present it to the audience and to the judges: Xaviera and her hubby and partner in crime at Contentchefs. I must admit that I’m very proud to say that my group won; one of the reasons for this was the fact that we really listened to the ‘goals’ we had to achieve according to our briefing. Meaning you should keep in mind that you are writing content for a reason. One of the goals our ‘fake’ company had to achieve was making sure that less devices that we sold were send back. Content is key in achieving that => if you communicate in a transparent (& creative) way about what you sell, people will know what they can expect, and they will less likely be disappointed and return your product. This was just one element from our presentation & case. If you are Dutch speaking you can read all the cases & briefings from Social Media Day and work on it yourself: http://42bis.nl/dossier/

#2 Make me care

An average Facebook Page reaches 12,6% of their audience, so when you are managing a Community via Facebook it is very important that your content makes people feel something in order for them to Comment or click on Like or Share, and for you to beat Facebook’s Algorithm called Edgerank. Otherwise you are writing content that nobody reads, and that would be a pity.
Your content should evoke emotions. Might sound easy, but believe me it isn’t 😉

#3 Show the DNA of your brand

How people feel about a brand is very important since it might decide if they buy your products or not. You can influence their sentiment by integrating the DNA of your organisation in your content, so Community Manager keep your ears open for great stories! Your company is way more than your products: you have people working there, and they are probably proud and motivated people so why not showcase them and tell their side of your story? During the conference an example of Belgian shoe brand Torfs was given: they posted a picture of an employee that was going on retirement thanking him for his work, and wishing him the best. Out of curiosity I checked their Facebook Page and they have plenty of nice examples like that, like the sales team of Hasselt showcasing their new outfits and shoes. It seems like a happy team, and happy team means happy atmosphere in the store and happy customers!

Torfs Team in Hasselt showing new shoes and outfit

#4 Activate your ambassadors

@dadovanpeteghem gave a great speech about the power of online ambassadors. Even so called LOVE brands like Coca-Cola might fail here. Sure, they have die-hard fans, but if they never ‘ask’ fans to spread certain messages most of them will just stay fans. It is very important to be on the look-out: identify your brand ambassadors within your company, as well as within your circle of fans, and provide them with scoops & insights to learn more about your company and become better brand ambassadors. Don’t be afraid to ask them to spread certain well chosen messages. Be careful not to overcomplicate it: asking fans to produce a video for you costs them way more time than to tweet something, in other words keep the threshold low enough. Oh…and there are tools to help you with this like Social Seeder (meaning there was a little sales pitch but it was subtle enough for me not to hesitate to promote it here :D).

#5 Deliver useful content

This might seem very silly, but I still see so many companies writing only about their promotions and their products instead of writing engaging content, and content where people are actually looking for. Of course you should also inform your fans about your promotions, but dedicating 20% of your content plan to that should be enough. Your website can be a great tool to learn what people are looking for => at The Hotel. Brussels I installed a chat functionality allowing our Reservations Team to answer questions that guests have via a chat instead of via the phone. By regularly checking the chat logs I discovered which questions kept coming back, allowing me to add useful content & information to the website as well as to our social media channels.

To sum it up: in my opinion a Community Manager is also a Copywriter. Content Marketing is really vital for your Social Media Strategy: focusing on the quality of your content will have a big influence in terms of keeping existing customers engaged and in reaching new ones. Please don’t hesitate to share your view by leaving a reply 😉

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