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Make your social media channels more effective in 4 steps



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Make your social media channels more effective in 4 steps

  1. Make your social media channels more effective in 4 steps A large number of companies are thinking about their next steps in social media. One of the key factors in any social media strategy is the channel/content debate. Companies are struggling to capitalize on their use of social media channels. In this paper, we want to share our approach on how to make effective use of social media channels in order to spread content. It is clear that social channels can also be used for customer service, conversation management and for collaboration purposes. This paper focuses on how to increase the impact of your content marketing via social media and how to optimize your social content strategy in four steps. The paper is based upon a series of research projects conducted over the last two years, the experience gained from numerous workshops with our clients and an in-depth discussions with social media experts Erik Van Roekel (@evr) and Matthijs Van Den Broeck (@mgvandenbroek). | B Conversational
  2. The ‘checklist’ mentality is still alive & kicking During the past two years, companies have been overwhelmed with articles They have heard a modern company needs a Facebook page and so they and feedback relating to the impact of social media and the modern create a Facebook page. Check, done that! Twitter is becoming increasingly consumer. At the same time, those companies have also been bombarded popular? Check, done that! Mobile apps are cool? Okay, I suppose we’d with new trends and evolutions. As a result, most companies are now aware better start using those too… That’s all very good and possibly well intended, of the radical changes that have taken place in our society. At the start of but its purpose is tactical rather than strategic. Companies that use social 2010, 45% of American marketers named social media as their top priority 1. media for tactical purposes will, for example, create a new Twitter account for In other words, social media awareness is now a fact. Most companies were each new event but they don’t always do the necessary follow-up. As a result, already taking the necessary corrective action. A recent study conducted in they repeatedly invest in followers who are then left to their own devices both the US and the UK showed that only 12% of companies are currently once the event is over. Perhaps there’s also the occasional investment to win doing nothing at all in the field of social media 2. In other words, there is both new fans on the company’s Facebook page but new and interesting content awareness and action. Excellent, you might think. Mission accomplished! is only posted during campaigns. And what happens the rest of the time? Little or nothing at all. Not really the best way to create satisfied fans, is it? Unfortunately not. Very definitely not, in fact. Such investments are unsuccessful because they are not the result of a clear- cut vision. They are just opportunistic, tactical pin pricks. As a consequence, Seven out of ten companies that have adjusted their marketing strategy to a large number of companies create a cemetery filled with neglected social reflect the expectations of the new consumer view these changes from a media (Facebook, Twitter & beyond) accounts. This has a negative impact on purely tactical perspective 3. This is what we call a ‘checklist mentality’. the overall effectiveness of their social media investments. 1 2010, 2010 Digital Marketing Outlook, Society of Digital Agencies 2 2011, Social Media Integration Study, InSites Consulting 3 2010, Stop the Paradox Study, InSites Consulting | B Conversational
  3. 4 steps to effective social channel use 1 channel & content strategy 2 build reach 3 Persuasion through content & interaction 4 From likes to ambassadors The first step consists in To increase the return on Once you’ve attracted a The final phase is the most formulating a clear vision on the content creation, it is advisable significant number of followers difficult part. In this phase you role of each of the online touch to build reach in the early and fans, you need engaging are looking to create a small points. Apart from defining phase of your online plan. In content to keep them army of active ambassadors. the goals and content of each this phase, the hard part is interested. The threshold to In order to succeed, you can of the individual channels, this maintaining a balance between follow a brand is very low but it focus on two dimensions: start phase is also about deciding relevant content on the one takes a huge effort to keep your by getting people as actively how those channels interrelate. hand and being able to attract a audience engaged. involved as possible and then In this phase, you must define large set of likes & followers on give them usable content. Don’t which touch points are most the other hand. just give them content to read likely to reach the social or view; give them content that media (and broader business) adds genuine value to their objectives. Instead of creating lives. Once consumers are using silos you are going for an your content this creates an integrated approach where the amplification effect. whole is greater than the sum of the parts. | B Conversational
  4. These four phases are obviously not entirely sequential; there is an overlap between phases 2, 3 and 4. In our strategy, it’s not that hard to define the necessary actions for the various steps. In real life, though, we need to be flexible enough to adapt to consumer needs in a moment’s notice. Once a certain stage is reached, phases 2, 3 and 4 become iterative steps in an eternal loop designed to build reach and create more ambassadors. Conversion Convince with content & interaction Build reach through campaigns Content Touchpoint plan TIME In the next part of this paper, we will dive into the details of each of these 4 steps. | B Conversational
  5. STEP 1 channel and content strategy Most managers think of social media channels as stand-alone silos. Content is spread through each of these channels without a clear plan on how to reach business objectives. The truth is that all online channels are interrelated. Consumers can even be routed from channel A to channel B. In this phase, we recommend companies to elaborate a ‘content-conversion’ plan. | B Conversational
  6. What is a content-conversion plan? A content-conversion plan includes every touch point where a (potential) On this platform, it is easy to directly convert a reader into a sales lead. In case customer can come into contact with your content. Then you need to your key objective is community building, your Facebook page may be the determine at which of these touch points conversion to your objectives best content-conversion point. When mapping out your conversion touch- (reputation management, community building, lead generation...) is likely point plan, define the trigger for each touch point that makes it possible to to occur. All other social channels support traffic generation towards these move on to the next. Furthermore, try to keep the lines as short as possible. conversion points. Instead of having a set of silo channels, this creates a set of The more steps are necessary in order to reach the touch point where your interrelated online channels. business goals are realized, the harder it is to achieve high conversion rates. For example, the converting touch point might be the corporate website or blog. A corporate blog can be the touch point that leads people from the content area to the sales area. Your other social media accounts ensure that sufficient traffic is channeled to the blog every day. For companies working in the knowledge sector, SlideShare can serve as a useful converting touch point. SlideShare is a social network site where people can share presentations (PowerPoint, etc.). This is the ideal place to showcase what you can do and what you have to offer. | B Conversational
  7. Social Media ... Other Blog Media Content Conversion Point External ... Blogs Content sharing through silo’s Influence | B Conversational
  8. Questions to ask in building your content-conversion plan 1. What is the key objective of our content marketing? 3. Which channels can create traffic to the content conversion point? Some companies focus on creating brand awareness and others on Once you’ve determined your content conversion point, the challenge is becoming an expert or on creating business leads. Depending on your to bring people there. All social media channels can be helpful in reaching objective, there are several content-conversion points to choose from. this goal. In this phase, the tough part is being able to use your content intelligently. For instance, suppose you’ve launched a great YouTube video 2. Which online touch point provides the best odds and you want to share it with your followers. If you have chosen your blog of reaching this objective? as the content conversion point, you should embed the video in the blog Define the best place on the web to reach your objectives. Below you and share the link to the blog post that includes the video. Mention your will find several examples of content-conversion points. Since so much blog and the URL in the description on YouTube. Also, don’t forget to depends on the context, the contents of this table should be viewed as mention the name and URL of your blog. Every time someone embeds your examples and not as the only possible outcome of the discussion. video on their blog, this helps increase the traffic to your blog. If one of your employees gives a presentation outside your company, put the name Objective Touch Point Details and URL on the last slide: “For more info about our company/subject of Create business leads Corporate Link to contact details available presentation check out our blog at …” Create relevant cross links to your blog and biggest change people will contact you for commercial conversion point e.g. in your Twitter profile background. The more roads information lead to the conversion point, the better. Strengthen Facebook Organize open and wide-rang- the emotional bond ing forms of customer collabora- tion to increase involvement Improve customer Twitter Most complaints and questions experience come through Twitter, so we focus on this channel for an optimum customer service ... ... ... | B Conversational
  9. 1. Define objectives 2. Content Conversion Point 3. Content Conversion Plan Social Lead generation Media Other Blog Media Community building Content Content Conversion Conversion Point Point ... External ... Blogs Reputation mgm Influence | B Conversational
  10. STEP 2 build reach In order to generate impact with your content, it is important to create online reach. You can have the most brilliant content available, if no one sees it the impact will remain limited. There are two ways to build reach: the slow approach and the fast approach. The slow approach builds reach over time by investing in quality content that spreads naturally. To succeed in the slow approach, you need three things: good content, a fixed rhythm and a lot of patience. | B Conversational
  11. 7 approaches for effective reach building Big brands usually lack the last ingredient, which is why we recommend choosing the fast approach. Our research has shown the following seven approaches to be successful reach builders: 1. Conversation worthy campaigns 5. Employee activation Invest in social campaigns to boost the reach of your social channel activities A company should always have more fans than employees. If your own employees don’t follow your content, how can you expect your customers 2. Rhythm: to be interested? Train and facilitate employees to become active A one-time campaign won’t do it. ambassadors of your social channel activities. You need a certain rhythm to share great content 6. Offline communication channels 3. Contests & free stuff: Building reach goes beyond online channels. Try to mention online Giving away some of your products is still an effective way to build reach in channels in all your communications: TV commercials, print advertising, the short run (although there’s no guarantee of quality). Many companies banners, point of sales material... are afraid to attract ‘low quality’ followers with this strategy. This is indeed a risk: once they are on board, the challenge consists in convincing such 7. Partner up with other major brands: followers to stay with your content (step 3). If you have a good relationship with brands that have a large social reach, you can always ask them to share your brand content (or a competition) 4. Social advertising: with their fan base. To grab the attention of your audience, you need to advertise your campaigns and content on social channels. | B Conversational
  12. Rhythm Conversation worthy campaigns Free stuff Social advertising Build reach through campaigns TIME | B Conversational
  13. STEP 3 convince through content & interaction In this step you have to convince your audience that following your brand was a good idea. Keep in mind that consumers are becoming more selective in the number of brands they interact with. Research conducted by InSites Consulting has shown that the average consumer actively interacts with no more than 5 brands on social media. This means your brand needs to be part of this select little group. Also, recent research 4 has shown that fans won’t dislike your page if they don’t like the content; instead they will ‘hide’ your page. This means competing for the attention of your own followers with big love brands like Apple, Coca Cola and Disney. And let’s not forget, your toughest adversaries when competing for the attention of your followers comes are those followers’ friends and families. The conclusion is obvious: this evolution is raising the bar for companies to be able to engage with consumers on social media. 4 Fast Company, Ekaterina Walter, Your Facebook Fans Are Hiding Your Posts At An Alarming Rate ( | B Conversational
  14. 3 elements are key in this particular phase 1. An editorial calendar: 3. Operational conversation management: Make sure you know what your content updates will look like at least In this phase, consumer engagement is one of your key objectives. three months in advance. Our previous research paper, ‘a six-step content To succeed, you need top operational conversation management. Have a marketing plan’, outlines how to set up an effective editorial calendar. In person or a team ready to interact and engage with your audience. Be fast, fact, content planning consists of three layers: big campaigns (very intense), empathic and listen to your fans so they will commit to your brand. Follow projects (recurring thematic themes) and content updates (small content the conversations in real time and be ready to respond. sparks). 2. Creative content: Drawing up the perfect content plan is probably the easiest part of the long road to success on social media channels. Coming up with creative and talked-about content is the real challenge. It’s not an exact science and there’s no such thing as a foolproof plan. It’s really quite simple: building content that conquers the hearts of your followers and friends requires highly creative people. | B Conversational
  15. STEP 4 from likes to ambassadors The previous steps focused on winning people’s hearts through great content. In this phase, the challenge is to create ambassadors: people who promote your brand to their friends and family. Here the question is: ‘What do we want our fans to say about us and how can we facilitate this?’. Succeed in this challenge and you will be rewarded with positive and impactful conversation about your brand. | B Conversational
  16. Convert your likes into ambassadors In this stage, you need to convert your likes into ambassadors. The following factors are essential: 1. Broad consumer involvement 3. Questions and answers If you involve your customers in your decision-making flows, they will be Put meaningful questions to your audience as we explained in the first more committed to your brand. People are more emotionally involved bullet point. Once your fans start giving you inspiring feedback, be sure to when they feel they are part of the team and that’s how you create return the favor and keep them in the loop. Let them know what you did ambassadors. So content planning is not just about sharing cool content or with the feedback and why certain remarks were used and others were not. asking evident questions. It’s also about asking your customers for feedback Be open about what use you make of their feedback. Gain their trust be on your performance. Ask people’s opinion on all things related to your being honest. company and remember to thank them for the input they provide. 2. Consumer consultants 4. Branded utility If you have in-depth questions concerning a new project or product, you Think of applications that bring added value to your fans. Look for content should turn to your die-hard fans on social channels and invite them to join that is both highly relevant to your audience and in line with your business. a closed community to discuss these topics. This makes them feel like they Once again, you need top creative people to invent these applications. are really part of the team and essentially you’re hiring employees that are Once fans start using the utility apps, it is a great way for them to talk about not actually on the payroll. your brand through the application. | B Conversational
  17. You can plan for success in social media I am convinced that most companies could use their social channels more effectively. The problem is that most companies only focus on steps 2 and/or 3 of this plan. Most brainstorms start with the question ‘what should we share on Facebook?’. By taking that discussion to a higher level, you will change the way you look at social media touch points. When using the approach outlined in this paper, it becomes obvious that the KPIs, the media types and the content types differ in each of the steps. Reach building Content & interaction To ambassadors KPI Social reach Engagement Recommendations Media type Paid media and Owned media Earned media existing owned media Content types Campaigns Content sparks Applications, online products | B Conversational
  18. After that: integrated content loop In order to use your online channels to maximum effect, they should be aligned with marketing actions in Content offline channels. Also, steps 2, 3 and 4 of this approach become an iterative process as soon as you’ve Reach building reached step 4 for the first time. CONTENT LOOP Once you’ve managed to recruit ambassadors, it is very relevant to increase your reach again and Conversion create even more ambassadors. At a certain point it turns into a perpetual loop and when it does, the content planning from step 3 and the philosophy from step 4 merge in the TIME overall content planning. | B Conversational
  19. Content Reach building CONTENT LOOP Conversion Conversion Convince with content & interaction Build reach through campaigns Content Touchpoint plan TIME | B Conversational
  20. Feedback & suggestions? I hope this paper has inspired you as well as presented you with a number of transparent guidelines on how to build your social channel strategy. Of course, I’m looking forward to your feedback and to hearing about your personal experience in this field, so feel free to contact me at Steven@VanBelleghem.Biz @StevenVBe Thank you and good luck! | B Conversational