As we reflect on the year that was, we may be wondering - did we miss the boat on social media? What makes social media effective? Did we do a good job this year with our online marketing?
And according to AOL, the key here is having a good, quality content. In fact they state that content is the fuel of the social web. So tell us something we didn't know! If you can't see someone, you can't touch someone, you can't talk to someone and you can't smell someone (sometimes not always a bad thing if you've been herding sheep in 40 degree heat - but thats another story) then what else do you have to interpret and what else can you use to get across your message? Obviously - the words you 'say' online.
Here are a few stats from the AOL research:
- 27 million pieces of content are shared on a daily basis - no wonder my head is exploding.
- 53% of time spent on the Internet is directly attributable to content consumption - yup there goes the head again.
- 66% of consumers' social graphs play a key role in sharing content with email as the primary sharing tool - tell me about it!
- 60% of content shared on social platforms includes a link to an external site, so make sure your message is at the linked site - more content to consume!
- Email is the top way to share content at 95% (see below) but it really happens everywhere on the web
But you know what the real problem is - as much as we all know that content is crucial to search engine rankings, social media exposure, online marketing, social networking (etc etc) it doesn't necessarily mean we plan our content well.
What usually happens is something like this:
- Company ACME decides it is high time they get into social media. All their business colleagues are raving about it and they insist Company ACME must get on board.
- So Company ACME assigns Person A to start a social media account on as many social media platforms as they can find (and usually no research is done on which platform their target market actually uses)
- Things start off well. Person A is posting regularly and interactions are happening. It all fun at this point and slightly akin to a science experiment.
- Suddenly either Person A is sick for a period, or Company ACME starts asking if they have made any sales from social media yet, or they get 'stuck'. Stuck in the mud of 'what do I write about now?'
At this point things tend to fall off the wagon...and really the only reason why is because they didn't have a plan to start with. A content plan is crucial with a capital "C" to continuing what is often touted as a 'free' but never ending process of generating feedback, opinion, fulfilling customer service and continuing online engagement.
So what we have used with customers in the past is a content plan in Excel - it doesn't have to be fancy because no-one is going to see it and say it doesn't live up to corporate standards because it is just a tool to help you plan - the actual content and getting it out there is priority one but the spreadsheet will help guide you so you don't get stuck.
Start a blank spreadsheet and write these headings across the top:
- Campaign - if it aligns to a specific project or marketing campaign you are undertaking
- Content Heading - what is the attention grabbing headline that will make people want to read it?
- Goal i.e. what is the SMART goal of publishing this particular content item?
- Success measurement - set a measure of success such as 'gain x% increase in unique website visitors'. It will take a while to get these right but at least it gives you something to aim for.
- Actual Content - i.e. the words, links, images etc. In the first instance, just write some content ideas/statistics, then have the assigned person actually flesh it out.
- Platform - i.e. which social media tool(s) will it be posted on
- Who is assigned - you, an assisant, another team etc
- Publish date and time - when will it be published? Does this coincide with the special campaign/project dates? Can another team in your organisation also use it for their marketing?
- Completed - Yes/No or the completion date.
Really simple but effective - you know what, why, how, when, where and how. If you can write this up at the beginning of each month for the following four weeks, you'll never be stuck for content again.
Have a great Xmas and keep safe.