Social media requires a content marketing system
My Dad was a military man in the 1960s. As a youngster he trained me there was one way to iron a shirt, make a bed, or shine a pair of shoes – the right way.
I remember him showing me how to shovel the driveway by dividing it into quadrants, then slicing the snow into cubes so each shovelful of that wet New Brunswick snow wouldn’t break my back. This was a precision operation.
Content marketing on social media platforms requires this same kind of methodical treatment. There are two ways to do content marketing, the way most companies do it and the right way. You pick.
The way most companies start in social media is to turn the intern loose on “the Facebook” and see what happens with random posts about the weather and weight loss. Unless you sell waist slimming sunshades (note to self: product idea), this is a really pointless exercise.
The right way is to set up your team to act like a content factory. Workflow, process and standardization are the keys to good content marketing. In the infamous words of Henry Ford “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.” In this case, any department can have any story they want on the blog (or Facebook) so long as it is in the editorial calendar. Which of course implies there is an editorial calendar.
One thing I learned when I worked at TELUS a few years back was the importance of process. Say what you will about big telcos, but there were a lot of people working very hard to make buying, activating and using telephony products the same from sale to sale. Ditto when I was a young man moving boxes around a UPS warehouse – everything was scripted, down to within an inch of its time and motion life.
Scientific management principles, time-motion studies and the like, originated very early in the 20th century, borne of the need to extract more productivity from newly sprung factories. Names like Gilbreth and Taylor, later Deming and Crosby drove the notion of scientific management into corporate America. Movements like Total Quality Management and Six Sigma came later to America, Kaizen to Japan.
According to Wikipedia “Key features of Kaizen include:
- Improvements are based on many, small changes rather than the radical changes that might arise from Research and Development
- As the ideas come from the workers themselves, they are less likely to be radically different, and therefore easier to implement
- Small improvements are less likely to require major capital investment than major process changes
- The ideas come from the talents of the existing workforce, as opposed to using R&D, consultants or equipment – any of which could be very expensive
- All employees should continually be seeking ways to improve their own performance
- It helps encourage workers to take ownership for their work, and can help reinforce team working, thereby improving worker motivation.”
Finding your corporate voice in social media is a process of planning, standardizing and continuous improvement of your content marketing, largely driven by the team who actually has to publish that content and respond to the public.
Broadly speaking, the steps to effective social media publishing are:
- Identify a target audience
- Identify their hot buttons, interests, cares and concerns
- Brainstorm a series of topics and headlines where those concerns intersect with what your company has to say
- Plot those headlines into a twelve week editorial calendar
- Assign each weekly story to a writer/producer
- Identify an interviewee for each story to add human voice and interest
- Note the audience’s reaction/reception as you go – strive to continuously learn and improve from that interaction and to produce better, more targeted stories in coming weeks
- Measure everything
- Conduct a quarterly audit, fix mistakes, fill gaps, repeat successes, kill the failures
- Rinse, repeat
This is essentially how newspapers, magazines and nightly newscasts are produced, but in social media the feedback from the audience is almost immediate (unless you’re boring, in which case … crickets.)
Nowadays to be a corporate communicator is to be a storyteller, a journalist embedded within your own organization, setting up your own little in-house newsroom.
Ask yourself this, if I am not the managing editor of our corporate story, who is? That should not be left to chance.
Tags: blog, content, content marketing, corporate, corporate communicator, corporate marketing, editorial calendar, facebook, Henry Ford, Kaizen, scientific management, Six Sigma, Social Media, TELUS, total quality management, workflow