With more and more businesses and organizations jumping into the social media pool, it is evident that whether one sinks or swims depends directly on the lessons learned and necessary skills applied.
On the weekend, I read a great article by Craig Woods in B2Bbloggers: Social Business Is Spreading, But Is Anybody Listening? LEAD: A recent Gartner survey asked the question “Who is leading social media initiatives in your business?”. 35% of the respondents answered “Marketing.” 10% said “PR.” Nobody said “Sales” or “CRM” teams. The immediate conclusion to this is that companies are still falling short of using social media, and the web to listen. While marketing departments are getting much better at tracking brand in the B2C space, most B2B organizations would most likely hold their hands up and say they still ‘don’t get it.’
So, this begs the questions: what is your sm strategy and how effective is your sm content?
These considerations immediately prompts questions regarding the fundamentals of “good content” and knowing what can and should be achieved. The basics of good content? Here’s a Reader’s Digest response: Your message should be targeted and delivered in a variety of ways over multiple sm platforms. Key is the fact that sm is not direct selling – but rather two-way communications. Therefore, content needs to engage your potential clients. You will want to build conversations and attract, inform and educate your readers. Instead of blatantly promoting products and services, try promoting your ideas. Share news and research; provide latest interesting stats; and survey your readers for feedback. Need input? – then provide rewards and incentives for responses.
What kind of content are we speaking about? There is a great deal involved in making a digital footprint in an on-line community and the time you put into your content development will impact directly on the chances of successfully making your content noteworthy. Think: digital press kits and on-line media releases, Website and blog copy, audio and video scripts, slide presentations, Facebook pages, Twitter feed, landing pages, LinkedIn Forums, case studies and white papers, e-books, podcasts and webinars – and yes, even advertising copy.
This has been mentioned in previous By George Journal posts: the secret to good sm content is its brevity. Today, digital readers really don’t read very much. Scanning text is an extremely common behavior for higher-literacy users. Recent research shows that 79 percent of users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word.
It appears nobody reads! On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% – and more likely approx 20%. Clicking hypertext links remains the most-used feature, clicking buttons and using the Back button are also “most-used” features. Therefore, today’s most effective Web-pages employ scannable text, using:
- highlighted keywords (hypertext links; and typeface variations and colour)
- meaningful sub-headings (not “clever” ones)
- bulleted lists
- one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
- the inverted pyramid style of wrtiing, starting with the conclusion
- half the word count (or less) than conventional writing
BOTTOM LINE COMMENT: social media marketing success doesn’t just happen with a big ol’ belly flop into the pool. Businesses, organizations need to consider a sm strategy that will work for them – and then spend the resources to develop good content. Only in this way will you swim!