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How Can Brands Use Content Strategy Effectively?

Posted 21 July 2015 9:00 AM by Paige Niedringhaus

Source: Travel Blog Advice

Welcome to the final installment of my three-part blog series on content strategy and how brands can leverage it. In my previous two posts, I covered (1) how brands can develop a solid content strategy and (2), based on that strategy, what kind of content to create. Today, I’ll discuss how to effectively leverage the content you’ve generated and curated in our social media world. That process involves keeping three key considerations in mind.

3 Considerations for Content Marketing

  1. Consumer mindset
  2. Social channel behavior
  3. Platform functionality

Let’s tackle the consumer mindset portion first because it is critical to how brands approach content strategy.

1.     Consumer Mindset

When deciding how to share content on social media, brands must ask themselves:

  • How are consumers engaging on different social media channels? For example, consumers may use one channel to connect with friends, a second to find inspiration for personal projects and a third to share, favorite and comment on content that resonates with them. In the real world, for example, you wouldn’t try striking up a conversation with someone about gourmet cookware when they’re looking to find out about formal footwear. If the latter isn’t part of your brand’s offering, then you’re in the wrong place.
  • How do consumers view your brand’s role in their everyday lives? The answer to this question is critical. Are you their favorite brand of shoes or do you develop the best financial software they’ve ever used? A brand that sells clothing, for example, would be a great fit for a channel like Pinterest, where users go for style and fashion inspiration. A brand that sells B2B technology products, however, would have more success engaging its audience on LinkedIn, where users seek professional, industry and career information.

Something else to consider: Your brand may not be right for every channel, which is perfectly fine. It’s more important that your brand’s presence feels natural and unforced. You don’t want to exist on a social platform just for the sake of saying you’re there. And when you do find the perfect channel, you don’t have to blast your audience with post after post. In this case, the standard rule of “quality not quantity” applies.

Ultimately, it all comes down to (1) understanding why consumers are on a particular channel and (2) tailoring your brand message, frequency and content to enhance their experience versus disrupting it. And, this is all a great segue into the second consideration to keep in mind: social channel behavior.

2.     Social Channel Behavior

Consumers have different behaviors on different social channels. That’s just the nature of the platforms. Due to this fact, it’s important for your brand to:

  • Identify how to connect with consumers in ways that align with their behavior on the platform
  • Understand the innate functionality of the platform
  • Determine the best time of day to share content on that channel

How someone uses Pinterest to plan her upcoming home renovation is vastly different than how she uses Twitter to stay up to date on the latest news. And while a consumer might only click on Pinterest for updates a couple of times a week, that person may check Twitter multiple times per day.

Keeping social channel behavior in mind, a brand’s social content strategy might look like this:

  • Instagram — for sharing behind-the-scenes brand photos; twice a day (morning and night)
  • LinkedIn — for more formal, research-based whitepapers and thought leadership pieces; once a week in the evenings
  • Pinterest — for inspiring consumers by illustrating everything they can do with the brand or product; a batch of 10 new photos three times a week at lunchtime

The application for brands becomes cadence and frequency of messaging. Content should be relevant, feel natural on the social platform and answer a need. And remember to cross-promote content from other channels you believe your consumers might also enjoy.

This brings us to our third and final consideration: platform functionality.

Source: Flickr, Jono Davis

3.     Platform Functionality

The third consideration for brands — and this is a big one — is platform functionality. Platform functionality helps dictate (1) what kinds of content will work well, (2) whether paid media is necessary and (3) the level of personalized messaging/content consumers are coming to expect from brands.

For instance, Facebook has begun prioritizing native videos in users’ News Feeds and penalizing brands with low reach when they do not pay to promote their content. Knowing this, it behooves brands to create engaging video content for Facebook and “pay to play” in order to get their content seen.

Likewise, Instagram is beginning to let advertisers hyper-target their paid promotion content similarly to Facebook for better engagement and a more personalized experience for the consumer. This benefits both brands and consumers: The former is able to leverage the additional data points gathered from hyper-targeting to better understand and optimize their content; the latter receives content that is more relevant, meaningful and useful to them.

Finally, Snapchat is adding geo-filters that advertisers can purchase to help users make their stories more colorful and personalized. It’s great for users who want a whimsical add-on for their snaps and for brands who want to be top of mind with consumers while they’re using the app.

Social media is an exciting space full of opportunities for brands. For maximum impact, a solid content strategy will take into account the consumer mindset, social channel behavior and platform functionality when distributing and deploying content across platforms.

Let’s Recap Content Strategy as a Whole:

     1.   Create a content strategy by identifying your business objectives and understanding how content can help you achieve them.

     2.   Develop different pieces of content that answer a consumer’s challenge/need in a way only your brand can.

     3.   Share those pieces of effectively around the social media world, being mindful of the three considerations of content marketing.

At each step, the strategy of create, test and optimize comes into play. Every time you distribute new content across your social channels, you can evaluate its performance to further hone your strategy for the next effort.

And that’s it. We’ve covered creating a content strategy, using that strategy to create great content that answers a need and then leveraging that content in the social media world. Now go forth, reader, and create stunning branded content — the likes of which the world has never seen and will forever crave!

If you have insights on how brands can approach content strategy, please feel free to share them below. And, as always, if you need help crafting the ultimate content strategy for your brand, contact Moxie today.

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