Random Acts of Progress

Content Is Not King

Posted on

4thWEB curated content from Six Pixels of Separation
By Mitch Joel (see full article)

It’s a pretty bold statement, isn’t it?

Are we making the wrong assumptions about content? What works? What doesn’t work? What makes something go viral? Do you think that BuzzFeed knows the answers to these questions, better than anyone else? Last month, I had the honor of leading a very in-depth conversation with BuzzFeed founder, Jonah Peretti, at an exclusive retreat for senior marketers. He was fascinating (and, I do regret not being able to record that session and turn it into a podcast). While we were hanging out and waiting for the session to begin, I remembered having a very interesting conversation at this past year’s TED event with Ze Frank. Many know Ze as somewhat of an Internet legend. He was making videos go viral long before this thing called YouTube was popular and, more recently, he became the President of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. Based in LA, his division of BuzzFeed works on all aspects of video creation… and distribution.

What does Ze Frank and BuzzFeed know about making your content work?

It turns out, that Ze knows a lot about what works. His finding will – without question – surprise you. Ze visited the Paley Media Council in Los Angeles last week for a live event moderated by Re/code senior editor, Dawn Chmielewski. Ze speaks about what brands must do to succeed in a world where the consumer has so many content choices. Personally, I started watching this conversation and wondered if I would hear anything new. After about five minutes, I found myself hitting the pause button and scrambling for my Moleskine to take notes. Ze is an amazing presenter and storyteller. He’s also very calculated and date-driven, when it comes to figuring out what works (and what doesn’t).

You have to watch this: BuzzFeed’s Ze Frank talks to Re/code’s Dawn Chmielewski.

Random Acts of Progress

In Social Media Marketing, Content in the Right Context is King

Posted on

We’ve written about this topic several times before and decided to revisit it again as Social Media Marketing strategies are constantly getting refined and reiterated; and context is continuously vying for parity with content.

The above 18 minute video, Brian Solis’ June 2012 interview with Deanna Brown, CEO of Federated Media Publishing, is worth watching. According to Deanna, “Content, in the right context, is ultimately king.” If you dig into the video, pay close attention to the details. There’s some valuable but subtle information in it.

4thWeb officially replaced “content is king” with “content in the right context is king” almost four years ago. The evolution of Social Media was the driver of that change. Today, Social Media is mainstream, and “content in the right context is king” is a widely-adopted Social Media methodology mantra.

The more the context and content matches the users interests (this usually requires a longer tail), the more the content resonates with users (if it’s good of course) and drives better engagement, in dialog, sharing, and active participation. This is almost always the case no matter where the destination is; be it Facebook, a Brand site, a Blog, etc. And also within a specific sub-set of that context (e.g., a specific Facebook campaign page, Blog post, etc.).

Here’s an excerpt from our 5-part series (“The 5 Stages of Social Media Engagement”) that we wrote at the beginning of 2012. In Social Media time, an eternity.

“Full results are finally coming in. The company is completely engaged with customers. At this point, results are considered a major business breakthrough and customer satisfaction is at an all time high. Revenue increases as does customer loyalty. Customers remark that their needs are anticipated and their ideas are being used to create a better company. The company is totally immersed in social media and can’t imagine business before it. Part of the company’s main policy is social media engagement with customers. They promote themselves as a company that listens and considers customer concerns a top priority. With constant engagement, companies are able to prove that they not only listen but act on everything a customer has to say. All levels of the business are engaging customers, including top level executives. Employees are fully trained and able to anticipate customer needs. By judging customer responses to pre-promotion, companies are better able to manage financial risks, despite the difficult economic times. Companies have not only prices and profits, but live customer feedback to measure results. This allows them to constantly tailor business practices for optimal results. Social media becomes an integral part of day to day business tasks. From researching customer buzz to providing real time customer support, businesses see customers as people and employees, instead of just a way to make a profit. Engagement is tied closely to revenue with practices and services changing to meet social media needs. Both the company and its customers are happier with their new relationship. Employees are more productive and campaigns are more efficient since there is no guess work on what customers want and need.”

The above excerpt is a snapshot of a fully engaged Social Media enterprise. They’ve invested much time and treasure in Social Media and a “content in the right context is king” strategy. Not all enterprises and organizations are at this level but all should adopt “content in the right context is king” thinking. Users like and want to engage but on their own terms. They like searching, voting, playing, filtering, personalizing, creating, sharing, conversing, trying and buying; but in a context that they’re interested in, and in a way that’s comfortable and rewarding to them. And the organizations and enterprises that provide context and content (in that order) that matches users interests, and present it well, typically have high user engagement and earned media rates; the holy grail of social media.

Do you like our article “In Social Media Marketing, Content in the Right Context Is King”? If so, become a part of it … share your comments below.

Content in the Right Context is King

In Social Media Marketing, Content in the Right Context Is King

Random Acts of Progress

The Content Marketing Explosion: Friend or Foe?

Posted on

The Content Marketing Explosion: Friend or Foe?

Frienemies: Content Marketing and Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing professionals everywhere have begun to realize that they now have a completely different job description than when they started in the field fifteen or twenty years ago. One such professional is Chris Hession, a senior marketing manager at AutoCAD. As he told Social Media Examiner, “Just in the last year and a half, social media has become not just a component of our product marketing plan, but really the core component” (Source: SocialMediaExaminer.com). His statement highlights the new prominence of content marketing.

Understanding the Content Marketing Paradigm

From social media posts to blog conversations, marketing paradigms have shifted from traditional push marketing, in which potential customers are handed static sales messages, to the more nuanced content marketing.

As marketing buzzwords go, “content marketing” is a phrase that’s frequently used but rarely defined. Perhaps a succinct definition would be “the art of branding and subtle persuasion by means of providing buyers with the information, community or entertainment that they seek.”

Is Content Marketing Good… or Bad?

One might wonder, “Is content marketing really all that great? After all, isn’t it just an invitation for an even heavier deluge of mediocre Internet content? Isn’t it worse, in a certain sense, to be subtly manipulated by content marketing than blatantly sold to with push marketing?”

Yes, content marketing requires more time than push marketing ever did. Yes, attempting to create popular, viral social / website content is inevitably a risky proposition. However, asking whether content marketing is good or bad is almost akin to asking if it’s good or bad that a horse has four legs. Like it or not, content marketing is here to stay; businesses would be wise to embrace the new paradigm sooner rather than later.

Content Marketing Statistics

A recent BlueGlass Interactive infographic reveals just how important content marketing has become. Here are a few statistics:

  • 90% of B2B marketers are using some type of content marketing
  • 60% of B2B marketers plan to increase their investment in content marketing in 2012
  • Posting articles is the most popular form of content marketing by B2B marketers, followed by social media and blogs
  • More than a quarter of total marketing dollars spent by B2B marketers went towards content marketing

(Source: Mashable.com)

What about you? How is your business embracing content marketing? How has it changed the way you promote your products or services? Share your experiences in the comments section.

The Content Marketing Explosion: Friend or Foe?

Infographic Source: Mashable

Return to top: The Content Marketing Explosion: Friend or Foe?

What are your thoughts about this post or this general topic? You can share your comments below.

Random Acts of Progress

5 Social Media Marketing Tips to Increase User Engagement

Posted on

If you keep up with social media marketing news, you already know that if Facebook were a country, its 800 million users would make it the third most populous nation in the world. And, besides being the largest social network in the world (by far), it’s now the most popular website in the U.S., consistently beating out Google for the top spot.

Social Media Marketing

If you keep up with social media marketing news, you already know that if Facebook were a country, its 800 million users would make it the third most populous nation in the world. And, besides being the largest social network in the world (by far), it’s now the most popular website in the U.S., consistently beating out Google for the top spot.

However, just because Facebook is the country’s stickiest site doesn’t necessarily mean that your Facebook page has any “stick” to it at all. How do you connect with your customers on Facebook, get them to engage and keep them coming back for more? Here are five social media marketing tips for increasing user engagement on your Facebook page.

Social Media Marketing Tip #1: Pick the low-hanging fruit first

Whenever you’re trying to improve your social media marketing, consider starting with the low-hanging fruit – the changes that you can make right away that offer a big return. When it comes to increasing user engagement on your Facebook page, the low-hanging fruit includes:

  • Respond to questions and comments right away
  • Post regularly
  • Run a poll, a quiz, a contest
  • Change your Facebook URL to something easy to remember (i.e., don’t allow your URL to stay as “http://Facebook.com/My-Company-Name/String-of-impossibly-long-numbers/”)

Social Media Marketing Tip #2: Time your posts to reach more users

We’ve found that big brands who post Facebook content outside of business hours have 20% more user engagement than brands who only post during the work day. And there are a number of social media marketing studies that concur with this.

Facebook user engagement for big brands peaks at three points each day: 7am EST, 5pm EST, and 11pm EST. In other words, user engagement peaks before people go to work, after they get off work, and just before bed time. If you post during the work day, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on your social media marketing user engagement windows.

However, different markets peak at different times. The entertainment industry peaks over the weekend – times when people might check out a movie or a concert. For the media industry, Mondays are weak, but the other weekdays are strong. Auto and retail brands see the most engagement on Sundays; healthcare, beauty, travel/hospitality, and fashion all peak on Thursday; and the business and finance industries peak on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If your business falls into one of these industries, post your content on days when user engagement is already naturally high.

Social Media Marketing Tip #3: Short ‘n sweet (except for URLs)

Posts of 80 characters or less – shorter than a long Twitter post – generate the most user engagement. However, when you include a full-length URL, as opposed to a bit.ly or tinyurl, people are three times more likely to click on it.

Along the same lines, if you want a post to generate more user engagement, ask them to respond to a simple question at the end of the post, such as “What new widget would you like XYZ Company to produce?” Do not put the question at the beginning of the post or buried somewhere in the middle – it is far less likely to be seen.

Social Media Marketing Tip #4: Get out of sell mode

Too many businesses still don’t understand that Facebook is about interaction; a Facebook page is not a newspaper advertisement and it’s not even a company website. If all your posts are sales-oriented — “Check out our sale!”, “Look at our new products!”, “Did you know we just got our fall items in?!” — very few people are going to comment on it, like it, or share it.

From a business perspective, Facebook is less like a sales meeting with a prospective new client and more like a networking meeting where you have a chance to meet contacts and build relationships. To be effective at social media marketing, instead of constantly talking about your products, throw in an occasional picture of a colleague’s new puppy or a bit of industry news from a website that’s not your own.

Social Media Marketing Tip #5: Ask for content in a compelling way

You might remember what poor Domino’s went through a few years ago when a couple of not-thinking-straight employees posted a video on YouTube demonstrating how to cough on, sneeze on, and otherwise molest an innocent pizza before shipping it out to the customer.

[youlist vid=”OhBmWxQpedI” width=”400″ height=”300″]

The video went viral, but Domino’s handled it well. One of their innovative responses was to fight fire with fire: They encouraged customers to send in photos and videos of the delicious pizzas they had received from Domino’s. The best entries would win $500 gift certificates. Dominoes leveraged social media marketing skillfully.

In the same way, consider following Domino’s lead and holding a video contest or photo contest on your Facebook page. Make the contest prize something worth competing for, then watch the content and social engagement pour in.

These are just five social media marketing tips to get your creative juices flowing when it comes to increasing user engagement on your Facebook page.

Return to top: Social Media Marketing