The Essential Guide to Your Company’s Social Media Transformation
By Seth Price
About Inbound Marketing
“We don’t really ‘do’ social.”
“It’s not a big part of our strategy.”
“Marketing handles that.”
“We work with an agency.”
If any of these sound familiar, you may be working at one of the many real estate companies out there that have social media culture and practice all wrong.
Generally speaking, companies with an ineffective or nonexistent social media strategy suffer from issues in the following categories:
- Consensus. Employees haven’t come together to agree on a unified, company-wide concept or definition of what social media is or how it’s done.
- Understanding. Whether old or new, from entry level to big boss, employees don’t understand how great content can drive revenue for their company.
- Trust. Companies are wary of putting their expertise on display for all to see. The fear is that customers will have nothing to pay for, or that their competition will copy their best content.
- Empowerment. Employees don’t realize that they have all the skills and the knowledge to create fantastic content themselves.
- Delegation. Everyone assumes someone else (the marketing director, the SEO guy, the external agency, the big boss, etc.) is handling marketing, and therefore social media.
The truth is, you don’t need a social media expert or a separate marketing division to participate on the web in a meaningful way. The people in your organization have the knowledge and the skills to be a part of your social media strategy. But before we get into the details, let’s address some of these pitfalls by talking a bit about content marketing and it’s importance.
What is Content Marketing?
People visit the web for three reasons: 1) answers, 2) self-promotion, and 3) entertainment (not necessarily in that order). You don’t have to provide solutions to all three. Instead, you should start by providing the answers to the questions your customers are asking. The good news is that your team can already do this. If anyone in your company has ever answered a customer question, then guess what? They’re qualified.
So how does a content and social media strategy help your business? Simple: by building trust in your company and your ability to fulfill your customers’ needs. By providing useful information to your desired audience on a consistent basis (via content) and making it easy for them to access and consume it (via social media), you’ll build trust, brand loyalty, and warm leads for your product and service.
Now that you have a better understanding of the underlying concepts, here’s the good news: in just two back-to-back workdays, you can develop a long-term, company-wide content and social media strategy. Here’s how:
Session 1. Gather everyone in a room. Make your impassioned case for providing valuable information to your customers and the concept of content marketing. Ask everyone to give it their all for the next two days.
Session 2. Go over examples of successful content marketing. Show some examples from the Content Marketing Institute (http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/case-studies/) or Hubspot, or search out your own.
Session 3. Brainstorm. Get a bunch of sticky pads and start polling employees about the “silly” questions your customers ask. (Why silly questions? Because they’ll break the ice and get the ball rolling.) Write one question on each note and stick it to the wall. Keep writing down customer questions until the wall is filled. Make sure to pick non-participants out of the crowd and elicit some answers from them. I’m sure everyone has fielded a seemingly silly question from a customer.
Session 4. Rank the questions in some order of frequency, with the most-asked questions at the top. Combine any duplicates.
Session 5. Starting with your most asked questions, do some role-playing with your team to start thinking about answers. The idea is to show the group that everyone in the organization has expertise in answering customer questions.
Session 6. Compile the top 100 questions. These will be your first 100 content topics. Give everyone a pad of paper and ask them to brainstorm some answers the the top questions.
Session 7. Make sure you have Q & A for each session above.
Session 8. Last session of Day One. Discuss individual brand building and the value of each team member’s personality. The more they engage with their customers on the web, the stronger the relationships they can form with their clients and customers.
Homework: Have each team member list five areas in which they feel they could provide the best answers to customer questions.
Session 1. Review the previous day’s sessions, providing plenty of time for Q & A.
Session 2. Divide everyone into teams and see who can come up with the most blog title ideas. Use the same process we used in Session 6 of Day One.
Session 3. Time to play with video. Have each team produce their own videos answering some of the top questions discovered on Day 1. Use iPhones, iPads, or portable cameras. Don’t look for TV quality. You’re just trying to get people comfortable with using video as a content creation tool. Make some serious, some humorous. Don’t try to exert control over the output.
Session 4. Review the videos as a group. Have fun. Vote for the funniest, most memorable, most convincing, etc. Award prizes.
Session 5. Review the last two days. Let your team know that from now on your company is going to be the thought leader in your market, providing excellent answers to your customer’s questions.
Day Three and Beyond
After two days, you now have a shared roadmap and language for your content and social media strategy. You also have some immediate tangibles:
- An exhaustive list of customer questions, ranked in order of frequency.
- A list of the top 100 content topics ideas.
- Some keyword phrases to research based upon the most asked questions. If you answer those well, you can start ranking for those phrases.
- A rough blog piece from each team member. You now know who can write.
- An exhaustive list of blog title ideas, which you didn’t have to pay an agency to come up with.
- The names of team members and the expertise the feel they can share. These are your content creators.
- Sample videos. You may even find some you can post on your YouTube channel.
Most importantly, your social media culture is no longer segmented. Everyone understands your vision for sharing valuable information with your target audience, as well as how he or she can participate. Now that it’s not foreign, your team won’t want to leave it to an agency or marketing division. Instead, they’ll be just as motivated as you are to participate in growing your company.
Published on March 24, 2012
Written by Seth Price
Seth is a brand and marketing strategist with 20 years of digital marketing experience. He’s a founding team member and VP @Placester, author of the bestselling small business marketing book, The Road to Recognition and host of The Craft of Marketing and Marketing Genius podcasts. As a speaker, writer, and marketing workshop leader, Seth brings levity, mentorship, and a dose of reality to the businesses and entrepreneurs he coaches.