Today, social media marketers and content strategists need to align their marketing programs with a quickly evolving marketplace. As the pandemic eases and people begin to socialize and return to the work environment, their informational needs are rapidly changing. Whether you are building a business or a consumer audience, they want your help and to use your expertise to best build their businesses and return to their normal lives.
To address this challenge in my Northwestern Digital, Social and Mobile Marketing classes, I have structured the program around what I term the 4 C’s of Digital Marketing. It shows the key areas and media mix you need to address as you build your marketing programs for the post-pandemic marketplace. I am also working to create a new Advanced Social Media Marketing online course and, in the comments field, would like to hear your thoughts about this way of creating effective, profitable digital marketing programs. It is based on proven strategies used by companies throughout the world to build their social marketing programs.
The 4 C’s of Social Media Marketing
OK, I know! It is really one I and 4 C’s! I teach in the Northwestern Medill IMC [Integrated Marketing Communications] program and we ALWAYS start with developing market insights. From those insights flows the entire social media marketing / digital marketing / content strategy. To better understand how I approach developing holistic, consumer-centric marketing programs, let’s look at each step in the process.
Step 1 – Insights Drive Your Social Media Marketing Strategies & Tactics
In my Northwestern and new Advanced Social Media Marketing course [being developed], we start by looking into 3 areas important to your success. They are:
- Industry Assessment – We use business analysis systems to identify trends, competitors and assess their competitive position. I also like to develop major competitor’s social footprint and compare it to my client’s business
- Business Assessment – Effective storytelling is central to your success in this post-pandemic world. Using the competitor information, we establish your brand positioning and then use it to create a vision and mission statement, value statements and create a detailed brand story you want to communicate. Using those deliverables, we then evaluate your existing and new social sites and website to ensure you are communicating your brand essence consistently across all your consumer touchpoints. It is amazing how few companies do this effectively.
- Audience Assessment – The final insight focuses on the target audiences you want to develop. We start with the creation of your ideal prospect. What I call the “market of 1”. We explore their motivations, their demographics and life style, the challenges they face and the goals they want to achieve. Once we have established the ideal prospect, we use online cloud-based segmentation systems to define and quantify the best target market and, using cluster systems, gain additional insights into the target market’s use of technology, media and the topics they are discussing online.
Step 2 – Connect Your Brand Story with Your High Value Audiences
Now that we have established your business goals & your brand story, we need to start communicating with your high value audience. To accomplish this, we need to:
- Analyze Your Audience’s Use of Social Media – Start by analyzing your high value audience using social analytics tools. We want to identify the specific social sites they use, the topics they are discussing, the keywords and hashtags they are using and the influencers and experts at the heart of the discussion. Using tools like Social Studio and free tools like FollowerWonk, we start determining best ways to connect with our target audiences.
- Build Your Social Assets – We either build our business social sites or – if you have them – ensure they are consistent with your brand message, vision, mission and value statements.
- Determine your Brand Connection – You have a story to tell. Your audience has a story they want to hear and a story they want to tell others. The key to success is to understand their needs, wants and desires along with the topics they are discussing to determine the role you will fulfill with your brand story. Your goal is to generate content to become an important part of their success story. Help them achieve their goals.
- Connect with Influencers – Influencers are communicating with your audience today. Connecting with them and amplifying their great content grows your follower base and provides ongoing content to further help your audience to reach their goals.
Step 3 – Create Content to Attract & Engage Your High Value Audiences
Our goal is to create a 52-week content calendar designed to 1] attract new prospects and position your brand, 2] build a relevant, predictable relationship with current prospects and customers, and 3] increase customer satisfaction by helping them best use your products and services. To achieve these objectives, we need to:
- Develop a Multimedia Approach – Your audiences are consuming text, videos and podcasts. They expect you to produce the media they most like to consume.
- Be Consistent and Relevant – In this methodology, we use a mix of Momentum Marketing, Influencer Marketing, YouTube’s Hero, Hub, and Help strategy, & the Loyalty Loop strategy to create marketing programs designed to achieve our 3 goals. We use influencers to create programs for their audiences to attract them to our brand.
- Use Social Commerce – Your brand story must connect with your audience and tell them about your product’s benefits in terms of their needs. Many companies are using social commerce – tailoring products to specific audiences and specific social media – to make this connection. We explore it and determine how to best move social conversations into sales opportunities [see my blog on social commerce for more details].
Step 4 – Communicate Your New [and Best] Content with Your Audience
As a mentor of mine taught me, “You did all of this work to create your content but your audience is ‘blissfully unaware’ it even exists”. You goal is to change that and attract them to your content. To do this, I use:
- Test Differentiated Messaging – Test different types of messaging using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to determine the types of messaging, images, and titles which best attract them to your content.
- Measure Your Impact – Use tracking codes to analyze each message in every marketing campaign.
- Market and Re-market Your Content – Each marketing message only reaches a small part of your target audience as most people are not online when you send your message. We like to have a 10 – 1 ratio of marketing messages to content for each social site you use.
- Automate Your Marketing – Broadcast messages across a number of business social sites is daunting. To make it easy, we use social scheduling apps like HootSuite. They allow you to create your messages with hashtags, trackable links, and images and schedule them on multiple date/times. The system then sends them out on time to all of your social sites. It makes marketing easy and trackable.
Step 5 – Develop Cascading Media to Maximize Growth with your “Winning” Content
This is a step most companies miss. Some of your content will be real winners with your audience. For those winners you need to develop cascading content. For example, if you create a blog your audience loves, remarket it and then consider making the blog’s content into a video. Put the video on YouTube [with keyword tags] and then market the video. THEN, consider making the video into a podcast and market it as well. The result is that one piece of winning content is transformed into 3 content items – in 3 different media – which can be marketed for 3- 4 months.
Another part of cascading media is to repackage and update older content. If you have content your audience loves but interest is waning, change the title, some of the graphics and – perhaps – some of the text. If it is a video, change the title and the description. Then market it again as “new” content. It is different to your target audience and will attract new readers/viewers/listeners. If you have older content that isn’t relevant today, update it, change the title and re-market it. Your audience will appreciate the updated information.
Remember the 4 C’s of Social Media Marketing
In today’s post-pandemic marketplace, it is vital to connect your brand story with your high value audiences. The 4 C’s of social media will give you the road map to best build strong relationships and grow your market share. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.