Social media is nothing new. It's been around for almost two decades. However, new practitioners are constantly entering field, and with every new marketing professional comes the risk of repeating the mistakes of the past. The old aphorism, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it” is just as true in marketing as it is in life.
In this series, we’ll examine modern enterprise social media strategy, what marketers need to know to make social media work for the midsize or enterprise organization.
Part 3: Create
Once we understand what our goals are, we have to choose what to create. What to create is a more complex question than it first appears. As marketers, we tend to rush in and just make a bunch of things, do a bunch of stuff, without considering what our audience wants from us.
We need to understand:
- What messages and topics our audience wants to discuss
- What content formats our audience wants most
Let’s look at how to determine each of these.
Messages and Topics
Topic modeling is the best way to determine what our audiences care about, what topics interest them most. Formerly the province of hardcore coders and data scientists, topic modeling technologies have become far more accessible and inexpensive for the average marketer in recent years.
Using tools like IBM Watson or Google Cloud NLP, we’re now able to digest enormous amounts of text data and transform it into easy to understand models of what’s in the text. For the purposes of creating social media content, we want to understand and diagram all the major topics in a conversation for which we can provide value, so we know what our audience does and doesn’t want to hear about.
For example, let’s say it’s 2015 and I’m about to launch my book, Marketing Blue Belt. It’s a book about analytics and marketing. What’s the conversation about in marketing analytics right now? Using the social media monitoring tool of our choice, I’d pull at least 90 days, probably 6 months, of raw conversations in the social media channels I plan to be active in:
From this massive pile of raw text, I want to know what entities - topics, people, organizations - are most relevant to the theme of marketing analytics, so I know what conversations I might want to participate in. I’ll feed this to Google Cloud NLP to create this treemap:
We see, once we remove obvious and non-relevant data, that people talk most about:
- noob, i.e. being a newbie or new practitioner to the field
- Google Analytics
- job openings and careers
- Growth marketing/growth hacking
- A Coursera course on marketing analytics
- Content marketing
- Big Data
- social media
With this list of topics, I now know what my audience cares to talk about, what they’re interested in. Rather than just making my social media content about me, I put my audience’s interests first, increasing the likelihood that when I do engage, my content will be more relevant.
Once I know what my audience cares about, I need to consider what formats of content they want to receive. Recall that we have many, many different choices of content available to us:
How do we choose what kinds of content to promote? We have six broad categories - text, image, video, audio, physical, and interactive. Again, using the social media monitoring tool of our choice, I’d look at the most popular posts over the past 90-180 days to see what kinds, what formats resonated most with my audience:
We see that native video (video shot on the platform, such as Facebook Live), followed by images, garner the highest average engagements. Thus, I should be examining opportunities with image and video media types most to resonate best with my audience.
Create and Experiment
One of the gaps of data-driven analysis is that data only looks at what has transpired. Thus, in any social media program, it’s essential that we test and experiment. Audio, for example, doesn’t show up in existing social media analytics. We should test out audio with our audience, pilot it, and see if the audience consumes it.
Create the majority of your content for what your audience wants more of, and a minority of content in things your audience may not know they want. Follow the steps above to ensure you are aligned with your audience well.
The 8C Enterprise Social Media Strategy Framework
- Enterprise Social Media Strategy, Part 1 of 9: Introduction
- Enterprise Social Media Strategy, Part 2 of 9: Clarify
- Enterprise Social Media Strategy, Part 3 of 9: Create
- Enterprise Social Media Strategy, Part 4 of 9: Choose
- Enterprise Social Media Strategy, Part 5 of 9: Connect
- Enterprise Social Media Strategy, Part 6 of 9: Coordinate
- Enterprise Social Media Strategy, Part 7 of 9: Collaborate
- Enterprise Social Media Strategy, Part 8 of 9: Communicate
- Enterprise Social Media Strategy, Part 9 of 9: Conclude
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