Social Media Tip #3: Mind Your Content (Strategy)

Content isn’t just your website – it’s every form of communication your organization already produces, whether it is email marketing campaigns, print materials, billboards, TV ads, etc. And, of course, it’s your social media assets. Many businesses launch social media accounts without aligning them to their existing content, which can create an inconsistent brand that confuses customers. A great social media strategy is part of an organization’s larger content strategy.

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What is content strategy?
Content strategy has been defined in many different ways. Probably the most well-known definition comes from the influential Kristina Halvorson, founder of content strategy events company Confab and co-author (with Melissa Rach) of Content Strategy for the Web. In that seminal work, Halvorson wrote: “Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.”

In other words, content strategy is not just a phase of a website project, or merely the creation and editorial curation of articles, emails, or web pages. Content strategy intersects with and helps to drive many different practices, from information architecture to user experience design to editorial strategy and more–because all of these practices are critical to the production and delivery of information your customers want.

Why is content strategy important?
Brand strength: Good content supports, enhances, and reflects well upon your company’s brand. Bad content damages your reputation and erodes customer trust.

Consumer loyalty: If consumers know you will give them great content–the information they need delivered in an easy-to-use and attractively designed way–they will come back.
Return on investment (ROI): Good content helps the bottom line. It increases. It helps attract and retain customers.

Creating a content strategy usually involves 4 steps:

  1. Benchmarking: In this step, you’ll audit your existing content, analyze your competitors’ content, review current best practices and whether you are following them, and consider customer feedback on your current content.
  2. Analysis and Goal-Setting: In this step, you’ll determine your business objectives, priorities, risks, etc. and how content can help you meet these goals.
  3. Production and Execution: This is where you start actually creating, producing, and delivering your content. With your objectives in hand, your content should be organized around certain themes or campaigns that support the goals you’re trying to achieve.
  4. Measurement and Governance: This is the ongoing act of reviewing your content and how it’s performing and adjusting your strategy as needed. In part, this means reviewing your website stats, customer surveys, email open rates and ad click-throughs, etc. and seeing what is resonating with your customers and what content is not working.

What does it all mean for social media?
The content you create for and/or promote through social media–from the photos you post on Facebook to the profile you write for your company’s page on LinkedIn–needs to be aligned with your overall content strategy. Before you schedule, pay for, write, or produce content for social media, ask yourself: Does this fit well with the other content we have out there? Is the tone consistent, and is the information useful or entertaining to the customer? What other great content can I create for my customers?

Asking questions like this can help you make sure that your company’s social media will provide a great experience for your customers.

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