David Ogilvy said that "Ultimately the value of a brand resides within the mind of the consumer"
Our objective is to start a dialogue with the customer, it is about making an offer to the customer that they will find attractive, interesting, informative, amusing etc, one that builds trust and starts a two way relationship.
All relationships are built on trust, it is the job of your communications team to build that trust.
A good Guideline is HIHI. Communications should be:-
The Sub pages in this section look at some areas to consider when using different communications media.
It is somehow reassuring to recieve messages from more than one media, and thinking through the most cost effective way of achieving this is an important factor in your communications mix.
So how does "Social Media" fit with your more traditional communication channels? The solution lies in permission based marketing and ShareAble Content.
I quite like the analysis from Danyl Bosomworth MyCustomer.com see below:-
Creating content, and then ideally marketing it around an engaging “big idea”, is an approach that provides a means to connect with the right customers, because it’s stuff that the right people actually want to consume. Social media experts like Chris Brogan liken content to the fuel that lets social campfire burn. So, if you are not creating great content that gets people talking about you, then what are you doing?
What content? It’s everywhere – text based in blogs, articles, ebooks and whitepapers, video based in short series or ad-hoc guest interviews, webinars and online meet-ups, user generated feedback through social media and comments… the list goes on.
With such rich tools available, let’s stop the interrupting of prospects with irrelevant messaging, and instead integrate useful content that provides people with information that is genuinely relevant, personally or professionally, at the right time. You can start that change and integrate content marketing into the mix by using a framework, like RACE, to help ensure that both scope and priorities are fully considered. Here’s a short introduction to how you can apply RACE to make your online marketing more effective…
Approaches to use to improve your reach through content marketing are:
Target – ask “who is listening to you already”? Make something for them, ideally something that makes their life a little easier, inspire them to want to talk about you to others, you only need the first 10 items to start that process. Be targeted in your approach above all else – the first question is not how many, but who – who are your key influencers?
Create good stuff – ask not what helps “spread your message” but what content does your audience need or enjoy, where is the intersection of value for your brand (what you want to say) and your audience (what they are trying to solve)? The more that content is based on their needs, the more it’s going to be perceived as valuable – use social listening tools, blog researching and search engine keyword research to quickly define those audience pain points.
Publish to outposts - make your content visible in places where your audience already are. Success comes from employing online, listening to the market and doing the hard work to get your message across.
At this stage we are looking to encourage visitors to interact with and share our content, so we need to know the content types that are effective. Approaches to use are to:
Create variety – with a range of persona types and devices on which content is consumed, varying how content manifests is important in itself. Consider the difference of mobile smart-phones to desktop PC’s – what is it that fits your audience? There’s so many ways to share content – including a daily blog post, a weekly video series on YouTube, quarterly webinars with guest speakers or a bi-annual ebook. You can even go interactive with quizzes and contests, it’s all content.
Be human – when a user hits your website does it make sense, is it organised “for me” and my needs or is it a re-brand of how every other site operates in your market? Using a language that sounds human and is well structured, offers a huge advantage in introducing your ideas to others in order you can be quickly understood. Is content in a format that makes sense and does it hang together under topics or categories that speak to the audience, allowing them to find more of the same.
Make it shareable – Having content that is easy to share matters. There are a wealth of tools that you to make it easy for users to pass your story forward into their social networks, the Facebook Like/Send button on Tweet Meme are the most obvious. And, don’t forget enabling syndication and bookmarking of your quality information and content. Anyone that is expressing an interest should be encouraged to share it.
At this stage we are building a relationship, converting to a lead or a sale. To help with this you need to:
Value – Demonstrate value. What do you want me to do, and why would I sign up, follow or connect with you on an ongoing basis? Keep the calls to action appealing, relevant and valuable, what do I need to do – is it offline (attend an event or visit a store) or online (go to your customer community service or Facebook page).
Interactive – The more interactive content is, the better. Can I ask questions, vote on something, take a quiz, use a diagnostic that help me make a decision or enter a fun contest that entertains. Help “me” get involved with the content and with the subject matter in new ways, teach me something. Consider interaction from your brand’s perspective too, encourage the human to human interaction through commenting on your blog, in a forum or maybe a webinar about a meaty subject area.
Promote – Selling, at the right time, it’s ultimately why we are in business. Make promotional offers natural and convenient, demonstrate the value exchange. Create social media only offers – for example vouchers or special notifications only available via Twitter or Facebook – and promote how to access those in emails or on brochures, Starbucks are masters of this.
This is the long-term engagement. Key approaches to guide your work here are include:
Build trust - work hard to gain customer comments and feedback from all sources including social media – then pool and present them to consumers to help engender trust. Pulling feeds from external sources, like Twitter as social proof that people like your brand is particularly powerful, though don’t forget to simply ask and reward customers for coming back to your site to share their product story.
Integrate – share content through extended services that marry marketing with that value exchange – special deals and timely reminders and updates are important for this, think of an ISP reminding you of domain name renewals via email at the exact moment you need to know and appending an offer to that for hosting effective promotional content at the right time.
Social CRM - social tools are just that, a means to build a better business because we’re now afforded the ability to cost effectively listen and serve the customer better. After years of paying research companies and chasing insight we find it here, right on our doorstep if we’re open to employ it as a process within the business. Only one benefit of that is our ability to continually improve content and communications.
So, for us, content marketing success requires an adoption and integration of simple, but still new, processes. Behaving like a publisher over a broadcaster to create an inbound effect of interested prospects and customers is something that still feels pretty new to marketers. Yet we can see that it’s authentic marketing, meeting market needs and helping consumers make decisions over looking to interrupt and persuade. Having a process in place to create and re-create content in multiple forms for distribution in multiple channels like email, outposts like Facebook or LinkedIn and of course your own web services, will help you scale up and meet these new demands.