We all know how awesome social media is for brands to interact with their customers, but it’s more than just writing a witty Facebook status update once a day.
First, I feel like I should quickly go over content marketing, just to make sure I’m not throwing words out there that people may not be familiar with, but I promise this one is easy to understand. In the simplest terms, content marketing is coming up with this content and marketing it in the best way possible to reach your customers. And incase you haven’t picked up on content marketing yet, here’s are a few reasons why you should consider starting:
- It develops trust by providing the customer with the information they need to help them make the right decision for the
- Content drives traffic as well as captures leads
- As that lead develops, strong content educates and informs
- Its all based on how a prospect interacts with the content
Because having compelling content is more important than ever, creating this quality content helps brands establish themselves as experts in their field, and pairing content marketing with social media showcases this is the best way to reach all the people you need to. Because of the way the Internet has evolved therefore changing the way people use it, engaging your customer online is the most efficient way to get to them. What you create online is searchable by anyone, even someone who may not be previously familiar with your brand, therefore generating web traffic and answers to questions that the customer may have about the brand or product.
By going past the traditional marketing strategies, having compelling content that engages the customer online is key to good content marketing. Because the message and the medium have merged, the message must be media agnostic, this compelling content can be created without having to focus on which medium will be used as content marketing is not bound to any single medium. In this instance however, we will say that the best way to meet marketing objectives will be to use the Internet to reach your customer as building a relationship and engaging the customer is easily done online because of the variety of social media platforms today. By making content that is an extension of your brand, creating buzz and engaging your customers, is like helping create a soul to your company for the customer to relate to.
A company I keep using as an example to explain all of this is Starbucks. Starbucks has figured out this social media thing and is excelling across multiple platforms by creating cross platform promotions and engaging content for their customers. Starbucks has their customers so engaged, they’re taking photos of their drinks and hashtagging and posting them on Instagram, which in turns helps give Starbucks even more content to push out there, and makes you feel a little bit special when they repost or comment on your photo. They also send out reminders of all their promotions on Facebook and Twitter, which I personally love because things don’t get much better then when half-off frap happy hour is taking place.
Another example of a brand excelling in content marketing on their social media pages is Chipotle. Very recently, they posted a YouTube video titled The Scarecrow, which has gotten over 6 million views. In the video we see the Scarecrow working for a big food processing corporation, but he realizes he doesn’t like this world and decides to quit and make his own company where he makes food using healthy alternatives, a la Chipotle! In the end it also highlights an app you can download around the Scarecrow. Yay for more user engagement! Why is this doing so well? Because people love a good story! And on top of compelling their customers with this 3 minute video, Chipotle never mentioned themselves in the video, instead focusing completely on the movement the story focuses on.
Storytelling is a great way to creatively market and advertise your services, because… well, people always love a great story. And if you’re going to go this route for your content on you social media site, or video like Chipotle, there are a few key elements that you should remember:
- Make me care
- Give me a promise
- Try telling a story without words – we like putting 2 and 2 together to come up with 4
- Include some magic
- Have a theme
- Make me fall in love with the main character (like Chipotle’s adorable Scarecrow)
- And use what you know and draw from it (like Chipotle’s mission to use organic food)
Social Media is huge, both in how many people use it and in how many platforms are out there, so don’t get hung up on what type of content to create. But before you even get too stressed out trying to decide if you should be Vineing or Instagram Videoing that and then just giving up for the day like I have many times before in my school years, take a step back and remember your target customer and consumer persona. You need to remember whom you’re trying to reach and what platform works best to do so – you don’t want to be on Vine if your target never uses it (who does use Vine anyways?).
I know this was sort or really long, but content marketing is very important, and social media is here to stay, so I’m going to summarize everything for you in one nice little paragraph.
Don’t forget that any content you create on one platform can be shared easily on others, just don’t get carried away with this. Only use the platforms that make sense to your brand and what make sense to most effectively reach your target. And don’t be afraid to try new things. Take a chance and prove your worth in this hugely saturated social media market. And most of all, don’t get so carried away with making content that you forget to interact with your consumers – that is the whole point of social media anyways. Ask them to create some content for you like Starbucks, and share the best ones and let your consumers feel awesome. Tell a story like Chipotle and inspire your consumers to change something in their lives just as the Scarecrow did in their video. And most of all, don’t get too hung up on making perfect content, just be sure it’s useful.