March 23, 2017

Success in Social Media is All About Content Strategy and Quality

Mary MahoneyBY Mary Mahoney

J. Robinson Group Blog

Choosing the right social media channels for a target audience is just one step in creating an effective content strategy. It’s equally important to determine what content is best for each channel and when and how to tweak messages for each channel. Most important is quality.

content strategy

From blogs, podcasts, tweets and LinkedIn postings to videos, still photos, case studies, white papers and traditional advertisements, the types of content and their interconnections are as varied — and growing as quickly — as digital platforms.

Underscoring the complexity of today’s multiformat marketing challenge is a recent story by The New York Times on the Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Super Bowl marketing strategy, which included a $5 million television commercial plus millions more to market the commercial itself.

Mary Scott, president of sports & experiential at United Entertainment Group, told The Times that brands eager to get the full value of their Super Bowl commercials may spend anywhere from 25 to 100 percent of the cost of commercials to promote them across social and other digital media before and after the big game.

While Super Bowl commercials are a field unto themselves, the secondary marketing strategies show the impact of a well-thought-out strategy for taking content and maximizing its potential across much broader platforms and audiences.

The Content Marketing Institute  offers a host of resources develop an effective plan to leverage content across multiple channels, from a basic tutorial on the importance of — and the subtle differences between — developing a content strategy and a content marketing strategy, to a five-step tutorial on developing a content map.

A content strategy, the institute says, is used to “draw and develop the larger story that an organization tells.”  The strategy should “focus on ways to engage an audience, using content to drive profitable behaviors.” The strategy involves managing content as a business asset.

To maximize a strategy’s effectiveness, the institute advises creating a “content map” that lists the components and their interconnections, from simple posts of headlines and links on Twitter and LinkedIn to infographics on Facebook and videos and podcasts on YouTube.

Carlijn Postma, author of the mapping tutorial, offers this advice: “The aim is not to create content for the sake of creating content. Your content has to be top quality if you want to achieve your goal. It doesn’t matter how many posts you churn out. If they are not relevant or interesting, every minute spent on them will have been a waste of time.”

In our next blog we’ll take a look at the changing role of public relations and its quest to capture “earned media” in the digital age.

March 16, 2017

In Social Media, the Question is ‘What Channels and How?’

Mary MahoneyBY Mary Mahoney

J. Robinson Group Blog

The question in marketing circles long ago moved away from “should I use social media” to “what channels and how.” The problem is, the answers can change as quickly as your Twitter feed.

man writing 'channel' on glass

And there are few one-size fits all solutions. While there are general rules about which channels are best for say, tourism companies vs. news outlets, the more vexing questions revolve around how much time and money you have to spend on developing and maintaining an effective plan.

A hotel giant, for instance, might have the budget for a full social media team to do everything from posting regular Instagram pictures of its paradise-like retreats to responding to guests’ comments or complaints in real time.  At the same time, their executives maybe engaged in B2B circles on LinkedIn, while their advertising officials are developing branded content for YouTube.

For most companies, however trying to jump onto every channel can do more harm than good.

According to an e-book on social media  published by the digital media company Lucid Press, there are now some 3.17 billion internet users worldwide, who, on average have 5.54 social accounts each.

“These people expect to find their favorite brands on each of the platforms they visit,” according to the book, “How to Adapt Your Brand. Pt. 1 Social Media.”
“But each platform has a unique language, and brands will need to speak that language be understood and appreciated.

That’s why most marketing experts agree the key to effective social media marketing lies in first defining your audience, your message, the type of content you want to share and resources – then handpicking the channels that best those criteria.

For instance, Dominique Jackson, a blogger for the social media management software company Sprout Social, says s great starting point is defining your target audience, then matching it against these social media demographics.

“For instance, if you’re primarily targeting women over 50 years old, Instagram probably isn’t the best option. You’re better off with Facebook or Pinterest,” he writes.

Next, Jackson and other experts agree, you should analyze the best channel for your industry, and what type of content you want to share.

Linkedin, for instance, is a great channel for blogs and networking. Instagram and Tubmlr works well for companies whose marketing is heavy on visual. Twitter is more news focused, and is effective for companies with the time and resources to interact with the news of the day. Facebook is the most popular, with 1.5 billion users — more than a billion of whom log on every day, according to Sprout Social.

In the midst of all this, however, it’s easy to forget about good old fashion print media, which despite all the hype in recent years about its demise, still has a very important place. In fact, there are many instances in which it is still the most effective.

A study by Penn State University in the early days of the Internet found that people reading print remembered significantly more advertising material from the front page of a printed newspapers than those who read the same front page online.

And with an increasing focus on the proliferation of fake news, print ads are still widely considered more credible.

In our next blog, we’ll take at the different types of content, and how to create and effective content marketing plan.

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