One of the biggest challenges a brand has participating in social media is maintaining an engaging and relevant presence.
It’s reasonable for a large brand to publish 3000 times a year across many social platforms (scroll down to the end of the post to see my assumptions). Achieving both quality and quantity is a massive challenge.
For brands trying to improve quality levels it needs to effectively track the performance of its published social content. That means analysing post types, content themes, audience engagement and the direct / indirect impact on corporate priorities (ex: brand awareness, product consideration, customer service etc).
The happy medium – meeting customer and business needs
Brands need to work out if its business objectives and the needs / interests of their online social followers are simultaneously being met. A brand can quickly assess its performance by assessing if its most frequently published post types / content themes among its most engaged post types / content themes.
On-going tracking means performance can be analysed and benchmarked. This work should provide the insights to successfully increase quality through a process of iteration.
Simultaneous investments in quality and quantity requires a substantial commitment in resource and an endorsement from the top.
How to tell when a brand is committed to content marketing
1. Campaigns are channel neutral
Brands that are channel neutral should be more inclined to use content (and social networks to distribute) to express the creative / consumer insight. It also means content / social marketing is considered at the beginning of the creative / media planning process.
@M_Hickinbotham “Aggregation is Duke”
— Brian F. Kelcey (@stateofthecity) July 10, 2013
2. Fit for Purpose
Brands that structure their internal teams around content creation, content distribution and consumer support are serious about content.
Brands that build internal social teams around the corporate org chart are more susceptible to content coming out second best against internal politics and silos.
3. Agile Budgets
Marketing budgets need to be flexible allowing content teams to apply paid media to amplify content that resonates with either the page followers and/or the target audience.
Not to mention the need to produce content quickly to respond to a consumer need or interest.
4. Media Attribution
Brands that operate active media attribution programs are expressing an interest in making sure their marketing budgets work harder and smarter.
Media attribution can help a brand understand generally the impact paid, owned and earned media has on the relevant phase of the consumer’s path to purchase. Especially as it relates to the consumer’s need for informational versus transactional information.
5. Clear Objectives
Brands that understand what information consumers typically require on their path to purchase and align content / social objectives at each phase is serious about content.
Clear objectives are easier to achieve if a brand has laid down the foundation for content success through the establishment of internal benchmarks that support the creation of clear objectives.
If internal and external stakeholders buy into the same set of content based objectives (and metrics), the collective power of a brand will work in unison to achieve the stated objectives.
Invest now or later in a content marketing strategy?
For brands debating the need to invest now or later in content marketing, the reality is that marketing and advertising are increasingly becoming more ‘social‘. In my opinion, brands are better off making the investment in content now, versus being forced to catch-up to their rivals in the future.