I still run across companies that struggle with understanding the value of social media and the strategy needed to make it an effective communications channel.
They lack an understanding of what type of content is meaningful and the discipline to post, monitor and measure frequently enough to build a loyal following and produce solid results.
In attempting to help CEOs better understand the role social media plays in the overall communications mix, I have found myself describing it as the new-age newsletter. This analogy seems to have cleared the haze for most and provided a better understanding of how to tackle this untamed frontier.
Defined themes for content
Smart businesses need to understand this medium and learn how to do it effectively.
Some of us early adopters have been using social media for more than eight years now — but while most business owners have social media pages, they openly admit they don’t have a clue how to leverage social media for commerce.
Ten years ago, my company helped businesses break down the “blank paper phobia” by defining a content strategy for printed newsletters. We would break the content into themes, usually something like:
- From the Top — president’s message.
- Team Talk — focus on a staff member profile, staff achievements or authored column.
- Success Story — focus on a customer profile, solution.
- Industry Update — sharing and educating customers, showcasing specialized knowledge and expertise.
- Project Gallery — photos of completed jobs, statistics of results.
- Making a Difference — company community or industry service.
Each time we put together the next newsletter we knew exactly what stories were needed to fit within the defined themes. As a result, creating copy and getting the newsletter produced and in the mail was easier and more efficient.
Social media is no different.
Plan your strategy
Think about your social media content strategy as an online newsletter. Consider the audience and determine what information would be of interest. Don’t bombard them with a monotonous message. Create bite-size themes.
Just like newsletters, social media is a visual medium. Provide graphics and pictures that help communicate the company’s message. Keep your messaging short and to the point, and include links or embed videos that provide more information.
If you remember the newsletters of yesterday you might also recall that the headlines were catchy and the copy was engaging and interesting. The same techniques are effective today in engaging viewers with your social media posts.
And by all means, let your company’s personality shine through. Viewers will pause and read your material if it is interesting or entertaining.
Kelly Borth is the CEO and chief strategy officer of GREENCREST, a 25-year-old brand development, strategic and interactive marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into market leaders.