As businesses embark on a social media strategy, I am finding that social strategy is being owned either by the Corporate Communications or Marketing Department. If you are one of the few companies that already have a Social Media Department, congratulations! If not, keep reading, because the advice is applicable to whoever is in charge of social at your company as well, regardless of department.
Social media is only going to become more important for companies to engage in moving forward, but the question then becomes how is your company going to engage with the public on social websites? Sure, you can have conversations, but I believe part of a successful social strategy, in addition to an engagement strategy, is a content strategy. This is especially true for B2B (business-to-business) companies who's customers are looking for more and more information and have less time to call on a company for an explanation by an engineer or sales associate.
As I blogged back in 2009, I believe first and foremost that social media is about sharing. Because the likes of Facebook (no pun intended), Twitter, and LinkedIn were made for people, not businesses, we all have lots of things that we can share: photos, videos, commentary, interesting articles that we found, restaurant reviews, and the list goes on. Companies, on the other hand, struggle here and tend, at the beginning of their social implementation, to utilize social websites as additional marketing channels and merely "broadcast" their press releases and other self-promotional news. Obviously, unless you're a big music star or B2C (business-to-consumer) brand that has customers religiously following your every move, this strategy won't be successful.
What can businesses share in social media?
Content. And lots of it! Resourceful information. Content that goes beyond news about your company and represents something so resourceful to your entire industry that you can slowly become the "channel" that everyone in your industry or target customers tune in to for information.
Don't know what information to share on social websites? Where can I begin to show you that your business is filled with a plethora of stories and advice that are just waiting to be told, such as:
- Original blog post entries compliant to your social strategy
- Conversations from your social conversations that you can repurpose into a blog post.
- Crowdsourcing content your fans and followers through social engagement like asking questions or polls.
- Guest blog posts from others that you feel are aligned with your brand and mission, like your partners, or industry thought leaders.
- Stories from your fans (or customers) that are aligned with your brand.
- Interviews with other famous people aligned to your brand (could be blog posts, videos, or audio)
- YouTube videos
- 3rd party information from thought leaders in your content strategy categories via content curation
...and the list goes on. If you think about it, there is no lack of content that you can be creating, or repurposing, to share in relevant communities in social media.
Internal Social Media Roles
So where does a Content Czar come in? You've invested money in a Social Media Strategist, who owns the ROI of your social media program, and a Community Manager, who owns the engagement. Who owns the content piece? Who is internally owning the editorial calendar for your social media content, including your blog, sourcing this strategic information internally and externally to meet your editorial calendar, and making sure that this resourceful information gets shared appropriately in the relevant social media communities? That is the role of your Content Czar. And once you realize that your Content Czar and content marketing initiatives are the best organic way to improve the SEO (search engine optimization) of your company, you'll create this position by decreasing budgets from other marketing disciplines that may now be redundant or less relevant.
It's time for your company to recognize the importance of content marketing as part of a comprehensive social media strategy and invest in the right talent in the appropriate internal department to reap the full potential benefits of sharing in social media.
If you're looking to find out more about content marketing, check out this list of the Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs, of which Windmill Networking is proud to be listed on.
Which department and who is in charge of content marketing at your company?