Social Media Marvels

Content Marketing Strategy: How To Create Engaging Content

Picture of Jagruti Bhargav

by Jagruti Bhargav

CEO and Content Marketer at SocialKNX, Gina Schreck can talk marketing all day, every day. She has been running her business for 24 years now and finds social media as a great marketing tool. Around 12 years ago, she used to personally use social media to connect with people. Today, she uses it for business and does everything to build their customers’ social connect, be it email marketing, lead generation, blogging, social media community management, or customer service on digital and social media.

Gina says, “We have a team of 12 and We Live in the digital space. It’s a crazy world.” In a one-on-one interview with Jagruti Bhargav, she shared useful tips on delivering content through the right channel, creating a successful holiday campaign, and the importance of remaining up-to-date on the latest social media trends.

Listen to the insights shared by Gina Shreck.

What do I learn from the video :

  • How to create a dynamic content strategy?
  • The many fold marketing objectives achieved through content strategy.
  • Does content messaging affect brand -building?
  • Which are the correct channels of content distribution?

Q: We all know that content is king. So how necessary is it for a brand to build and revisit its content strategy every now and then?

A: I think that’s the hardest thing in social media. In the digital space, we probably have to revisit our content strategies every month or every quarter, at the least, because there is always something new coming up. We need to tweek our content for a particular channel. We need to make the content adaptable to a new form such as a video because a large number of people love consuming video content. Then, you must analyse what’s working or getting more traction.

For instance, LinkedIn has recently made a couple of changes in terms of introduction of LinkedIn Live and LinkedIn Newsletter. One of our clients had to switch their strategy because their blog posts on LinkedIn articles were getting very little traction. However, when they loaded their blog posts on to LinkedIn Newsletter as newsletters, it made them a thought leader in the customer experience space in a period of only one month. LinkedIn also asked them to be part of this newsletter program.

So it’s similar to uploading an article on LinkedIn with the only difference that it gets you 800% more reach. Things change all the time. That’s why you have to look at your numbers every month and revisit your content strategy.

A: In this industry, you have to somehow learn every day and know what’s trending because it keeps on changing so often. Social media makes the world a little smaller, but you need to be on your toes and stay on your toes. You need to wake up every day and ask, “What’s new today?”. It’s fun and challenging at the same time.

Q: Besides revisiting their content strategy, people are also looking at social media to get more leads since a lot of platforms are offering opportunities to create lead forms and generate leads via posts or ads in there. How can a brand convert a particular piece of content into a lead magnet?

A: I like the analogy of content to the universe. I call it the Content Universe.

To me, website is the sun. So everything should pull gravitationally to the sun.

Around the sun, we have planets, that is, lead generation pieces that may be anything from a blog post to a lead magnet to a podcast to a webinar. Videos are also a big piece of content. The purpose of each of these is to draw people in closer to the point of sale, whether it’s at the website or in a store.

Then, social media’s job is to shine the light on the planets. Therefore, on social media, you need a lot of stars. Since not everybody sees the same stars at the same time, I may see one of your posts on Twitter, for instance, but not the one on LinkedIn. And the next day I might see your post on Facebook and LinkedIn, but not your tweets simply because I didn’t log in.

This is why it’s important to create the big pieces when it comes to lead generation, while also understanding how the entire customer journey and content universe work together. It helps you know how a particular piece of content could turn into a lead magnet.

For instance, I may start with a free blog post that contains helpful content. However, at the bottom, I might say that you need to download the questionnaire here and bring it to your next staff meeting for the questions you should ask about this topic. That’s how you take one piece of content and use it to complement another piece of content.

If you simply ask people to download a thing or provide their email address, they might resist. Contrary to that, if you first take your potential leads to a particular piece of content, that is, one of the planets, and show them how you are helpful to them, then they would trust you. They would want something more from you and be willing to provide you their email address.

Q: It’s just like you don’t barge into somebody’s home, you first knock or ring the doorbell and take permission. And that is when the potential customer begins to trust you. Now if you also provide value over there, they would probably like to interact with you and stick by you. It’s all about the first impression. Right?

A: Yes, it’s that first impression. Besides, you need to show up on your social channels every day and be interesting and helpful. Being helpful earns you people’s trust and admiration. Also, it becomes easier to convert them into a lead that is ready to have a one-on-one, intimate conversation, no matter if it’s via email or a phone call. Eventually, you are going to see higher conversion rates.

Q: I really liked how you said that your website is the sun and your social media is home to the stars. Sometimes the sun, instead of being a business, could be a person or a solopreneur. For them, the sun is their own personal brand. What role does content and correct messaging play when it comes to building a personal brand?

A: Everything we put out creates our brand. Most people think, “If I sit down, create a logo, create a value statement and do certain other work, I will have a brand”. That’s not true. That’s the idea of a brand that you hope people will associate with. But actually, you create your brand every single day when you show up, and every time you put out a content piece.

  • If you are helpful in a specific niche, or a specific area of expertise, and regularly share content in that area, you are building your brand. This is because people will tell their friends who to speak to about video marketing or maybe photography. They are going to think of you and that’s when you know that you have a brand.
  • Every piece of content, whether it’s a tweet, a LinkedIn post, a video, or a blog post, creates your personal brand.

Most people share random and scattered content, such that no one can think of them when it comes to thinking of an expert in a particular area.

So show up and help people every day through your content. Use your expertise to solve a pain point of your potential customers. That is what helps you build your brand because people start trusting you and like to do business with you.

Q: I think one thing that confuses people besides what to put out, is where to put it out? Sometimes the content is phenomenal but it still doesn’t get traction due to being shared on a wrong platform. So how does a brand select the correct channel of content distribution?

A: I believe that we should be on the platform that our potential customers are on. People think that they need to be on every platform, whether it is LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter. But the truth is that you can’t be great on all the platforms.

You need to pick the right platform and spend, say, 90% of your time on it. Be consistent and show up every day to help your target market. Nail it before you scale it. When you feel that you have built a solid reputation on your chosen platform, and see that people are talking about using another platform, you can then choose to spend 10% of your time exploring the other platforms.

I prefer signing up with every single platform to create a personal account and go in there as an explorer. I try to find out which companies are using that platform and how. I try to identify the new features introduced in a platform. So I use it as a beta tester.

You need to look where your potential customers are, or do some surveys to find out where your audience is. Ask questions like, what is your favorite social media tool? Where do you get most information or content from? It helps you decide where to spend your time.

Q: What people tend to forget is that it’s less about posting on social media, and more about researching and finding out where your target audience is.

A: Well, it’s also about being present on social media and commenting on other people’s content. If I know that my potential customers are interested in the health and nutrition industry, I need to make sure that I am engaging with people who are talking about health and nutrition. They may not necessarily be my competitors. I may visit some yoga studio pages, comment, like and get involved with the community there, so that those people see me as part of their community before I try to tell them to follow me on the platform.

Q: I think a lot of us have forgotten that when we get on social media as a business, it’s still about getting social, talking to each other, and bouncing off ideas off of each other.

A: Yes, it’s about building relationships. Every marketing platform should be about your relationship with your potential customer. We need “more social, less media”. We have forgotten how to be engaging. We just want to throw content out there and hope that people will like our stuff. We don’t realize that if we like their stuff first, they are more likely to come and find out more about us.

Q: Would you have a checklist for our readers on how to plan and execute their content strategy around holidays?

A: Whether you are a solopreneur or have a team, you need to sit down and formulate a strategy for your holiday campaigns. For Thanksgiving, for example, you can encourage your target audience to share 30 days of gratitude or 10 days of gratitude, depending upon the number of days left until Thanksgiving. Create a campaign around it. It really depends upon the type of your business.

  • If you are a product-based business, you can giveaway swags. If you want people to engage, let them share a story of gratitude for something related to the industry, and select a winner every day. Give them rewards like an eBook or a course or a free webinar, showing them gratitude for your community.
  • You must create something that offers value, instead of simply asking your potential customers to get on a webinar and telling them that you are selling to them. They can see right through it. Therefore, it’s better to do some fun giveaways. Let your community engage, tag people, and share your content. It helps you build your community.
  • Be clear on your ultimate goal from the campaign. Whether it is to drive engagement, increase the number of followers, or get increased number of email downloads.

Sometimes people get caught up with things like whether they should boost a post and pay for it. They get a lot of people to see it but tend to forget their ultimate goal. It’s important to identify the ultimate goal and then build the campaign around it. Just keep in mind that you should eventually be able to pull people in to your content universe.

  • Start with the social media posts. Create a lot of little stars that talk about your holiday campaign. Then decide the planet that stars will pull them into. This planet could be a blog post about gratitude or a video that you created about ways to show gratitude to your customers
  • You can do it in reverse too. Create the planets first, and then create all the stars that will capture the attention you want for your holiday campaign.

It’s not rocket science but a lot of work. Yet it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can keep it simple with your objective clear in your mind.

Tip: If we really start aiming for fewer people, greater engagement, and deeper relationships, we will see higher conversions.

Q: Yeah, rather than trying to push out your services or products on to people, you should try and provide them value in terms of solutions to their pain points. Then they tend to look up to you, thank you for pinpointing their problem, and trust that you will have the solution too.

A: Exactly, and you should offer the solution in a one-on-one manner. I think, as a brand, you should look at the micro influencers in your campaigns. Don’t think about how to bring on a big influencer to help you, when you are too close to holidays. Because then, it’s too late in the game.

Think about your top fans in that moment. How are you showing appreciation for those that always comment on your posts and share your content? What are you doing to show gratitude to them? You need to thank them even if it’s with a $5 Starbucks gift certificate online. It’s important to look at and reward people who already love you. Because then, they are going to tell more people about your brand than ever before. They will turn into your super fans.

The #SocialMediaMarvels is a podcast series that invites digital marketing influencers from across the world to celebrate their journey and get a glimpse of their contributions to the field. Get actionable tips, learn directly from the practitioners, and imbibe it to help your business. If you would like me to cover a specific topic, then share your suggestions at jagruti@socialpilot.co.

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