8 Steps To Effective Content for Social Media


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For the third week in a row, I find myself at another amazing marketing conference. This time, it’s the Social Media Strategies Summit #SMSsummit in New York City where hundreds of social-minded digital marketers are looking to learn top tips and tricks for how to be more effective with social media marketing.

My talk is on some ideas for how to develop a content strategy for your social efforts. I have always seen the value in great content developed with the customer in mind. But social media needs great content, and great content needs social media, so you can’t be successful with just one.

My own journey into social was relatively opportunistic. After working for the same company for almost 10 years, I decided to find a new job. And Linkedin seemed like the right thing to try out at the time. And so in 2004, I joined up and started connecting with those I had worked with in the past. I gave no thought to having any kind of “strategy” for Linkedin. That was 9 years ago!

I joined Twitter in 2009. And for more than 3 months I logged in every day for about 15 minutes and watched the screen, Matrix-style, in awe of what was going on. Then I sent my first tweet and slowly started re-tweeting other people’s content each day – content I wanted to read and I thought others would find interesting. I also joined Facebook. Connected with a few friends and hardly ever logged in.

Then I started blogging. And suddenly I got it. Content and Social go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other.

Unfortunately, most companies started using social media simply to promote the same old tired campaign messages and events. And many wondered why their social media wasn’t generating ROI.

Effective social media starts with a solid foundation and mindset of customer-centric storytelling. That helps your content get found, get shared and helps you get leads.

So based on my experience, lots of trial and error (mostly errors) and an attempt at having a little fun, I developed these 8 tips to generating effective content for social media:

8 Steps To Effective Content For Social Media

1. Listen first
2. Stop creating crap
3. Engage your audience
4. Find your voice
5. Be helpful
6. Find your Rhythm: (the 4-1-1 rule of social sharing)
7. Reject excuses for not using any social channels
8. Be entertaining, if you can

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  • Storytelling is old as we are. Social media allows us to tell stories in exciting and challenging new ways.
  • And it’s not really about the stories, is it? It’s about the emotions.
  • These are my children.
  • This is me 20 pounds, I mean 20 years ago, at College Graduation. I went to school to study business but then changed my major to English Lit because I was fascinated by the art of storytelling. I still wanted to follow my career ambitions by working in the business field but felt even then that communications was the key to business success. It’s 1994 and a company named Mosaic changed it’s name to Netscape and released the first web browser. At this time, there were 1,000 connected computers in the early world wide web. In just a few short years, that number went from millions to the billions of connected devices we have today.
  • Fast forward to today. And it’s content and accessibility that is driving the world, not the Internet. Marketers, publishers and agencies are no longer in control. The consumer is…we have each become our own network hubs.
  • Simply because they don’t want to engage with this guy. The overly-promotional brand marketer.
  • And they are bored with the lack of interesting, helpful or entertaining content.
  • This is disrupting entire industries like print where the US newspaper industry is now down nearly $40 Billion dollars from it’s height.
  • Ignore banner ads
  • They are looking for brands who act like they care. Who touch their hearts and inspire their minds.
  • They are looking for brands who don’t just perform what is expected, but who go the extra distance. Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters doesn’t just write the lyrics, sing the songs, play the guitar, he also pours his fans a beer.
  • We run our content hub like a business and force ourselves to return a profit.
  • So we proposed the creation of a content hub. It is subtly branded so as not to feel too promotional. It’s keyword-driven. We seek to answer our customers top questions. We had no budget for content. So I went out and found volunteers in what I call “author curation.” Find those who are writing in your space and invite them to contribute on your platform. You get hopefully great content, a built-in social audience and the writers get additional exposure and inbound links to the their home sites. Finally, we seek to drive action! And so we are testing multiple methods for conversions. We also looked and many external sites like AMEX Open Forum, Adobe CMO.com and we’re trying to learn from them and emulate what works.
  • I also did some analysis of search patterns in our solution areas and found that in almost every one of our product categories, the number of unbranded searches far outweighs the number of branded search. Think of this as a litmus test for brand affinity. It’s more than a measure of awareness but a measure of how well people act on awareness.
  • Our most popular content tends to be practical tips on who to follow, terms you need to know, predictions and step-by-step guides. This content forms the foundation of our site.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3pffeMdDSoY
  • So in conclusion: know your why? Before you start down the path of what and how. Be able to tell your own story. Look to create content that simply answers your customers key questions. Look at market examples for how to improve. Be clear with your goals. And know that you can only succeed with the help of your team.I hope you found this informative, maybe a little entertaining? I know I had fun. I’m around later for questions. Thanks so much for your attention!
  • 8 Steps To Effective Content for Social Media

    1. Social Content StrategyMichael BrennerSAP Vice President - Marketing & Content Strategy@BrennerMichael
    2. @BrennerMichael
    3. @BrennerMichael
    4. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 4@BrennerMichael@BrennerMichael
    5. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 5@BrennerMichaelMe, 20 pounds years ago@BrennerMichael
    6. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 6@BrennerMichaelToday we are all connected@BrennerMichael
    7. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 7@BrennerMichaelContent used to be easy . . . Today, YOU are the news!50 years ago, Gallup released research that said delivering newsis the most effective way to attract people to your business…
    8. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 8@BrennerMichaelWhat’s Wrong With Our Content? It’s Too Much Like This…@BrennerMichael
    9. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 9@BrennerMichael@BrennerMichael
    10. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 10@BrennerMichael@BrennerMicha
    11. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 11@BrennerMichael
    12. @BrennerMichael
    13. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 13@BrennerMichaelAnd Not Enough Like This…@BrennerMichael
    14. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 14@BrennerMichael@BrennerMichael
    15. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 15@BrennerMichaelSocial Media(Get Shared)LeadGeneration(Get Leads)Search EngineOptimization(Get Found)STORYTELLINGWhy Is Content Marketing Important?From: Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute
    16. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 16@BrennerMichaelA Content Hub Run Like a BusinessPAID Converged EARNEDAwareness AdsDemand Gen extensions:E-mail, digital assets, mailersPaid social promotion: ViaTwitter, Linked-In, Facebook, YouTubeLifeBusiness InnovationSAP.com:Sales Demo Tools EventsSocial Communities:- Twitter, Linked, facebook, G+PR: Content promoted andshowcased via Press Releasesand PR initiativesPublish storiesOWNED
    17. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 17@BrennerMichaelBusiness Innovation (launched March 27, 2012)A “Content Hub” to earn traffic instead of buying it Design: “Subtly” Branded Target: Business Execs+ Stage: Early- to Mid-stage Editorial: Keyword-driven Content:No Budget100s of authors (“Author Curation”)~50% external CTA: Subscribe, Offers, Explore Market examples: AMEX Open Forum, CMO.com, BCGPerspectives, AT&T Networking Exchangehttp://blogs.sap.com/innovation
    18. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 18@BrennerMichael8 Steps To Effective Social Content1. Listen first2. Stop creating crap3. Engage4. Find your voice5. Be helpful6. Rhythm: 4-1-1 rule of social sharing7. Reject excuses for not using certain channels8. Be entertaining
    19. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 19@BrennerMichael1. Listen:2 Ears, 1 Mouth
    20. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 20@BrennerMichaelThe buyer journey starts with a search . . .Top Customer Terms:• What is real-time analytics?• What is cloud computing?• What is Big Data?• What are mobile solutions?• How are companies benefitingfrom …?• Who are the top vendors in…?Terms SAP Ranked For:• What is SAP?• SAP Software?• SAP HANA?• SAP ERP?• SAP BusinessIntelligence?• SAP Crystal Reports™?
    21. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 21@BrennerMichaelhttp://www.slideshare.net/dougkessler/crap-the-content-marketing-deluge2. Stop Creating…@BrennerMichael
    22. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 22@BrennerMichael3. Engage:Don’t Be That Guy@BrennerMichael
    23. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 23@BrennerMichaelMeet Lindsey @LindseyLaManna
    24. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 24@BrennerMichael4. Find Your Voice:It Takes Practice@BrennerMichael
    25. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 25@BrennerMichaelBe Helpful5. Always BeHelpful! @BrennerMichael
    26. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 26@BrennerMichaelMost Popular Articles (10X average Pageviews)•Top 50 Influencers for each topic•Top 10 Blog Sites for each topic•Terms You Need To Know•Myths…Busted•10 Predictions for…•What is…?•The First Step to Success in…•How To Get Ahead With…
    27. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 27@BrennerMichael6. Find YourRhythm: 4-1-1?@BrennerMichael
    28. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 28@BrennerMichaelSocial Rhythm: Each Channel Has OneFacebook Twitter Google+ Linkedin
    29. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 29@BrennerMichael7. Reject Excuses ToNot Use Any Channel@BrennerMichael
    30. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 30@BrennerMichaelhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3pffeMdDSoY8. If you can…Be Entertaining@BrennerMichael
    31. © 2013 SAP AG. All rights reserved. 31@BrennerMichael8 Steps To Effective Social Content1. Listen first2. Stop creating crap3. Engage4. Find your voice5. Be helpful6. Rhythm: 4-1-1 rule of social sharing7. Reject excuses for not using certain channels8. Be entertaining
    32. Thankyou!Michael BrennerVice President,SAP Marketing & Content StrategyMichael.Brenner@SAP.comConnect with Me:Slides available on:Slideshare.net/MichaelBrennerMarketing Blog:B2B Marketing InsiderSAP Content Hub:Business InnovationTwitter:@brennermichael