There is a stack of Wired magazines in our office dating back years. It’s amazing what the editors and writers of that publication thought were going to be the next big thing.
Looking back at those things,
Beyond the information about gadgets and science and that spooky thing called the internet, what stands out in these articles is the care the writers took to explain tricky to understand concepts, ideas, and technologies.
There’s an art to pulling off the transfer of information from the studied to the curious. Especially now in a world dominated by social media where attention spans are dwindling, and users crave easy-to-consume content in easily accessible formats.
That art is called communications. In this article we look at the role of marketing communication and the importance of a comms strategy. Beyond that, we break down the need for a social media marketing strategy as audiences continue to spend the majority of their time on various social media platforms consuming content at a rate never seen before.
What is Marketing Communication?
Let’s be clear: the goal of all marketing is to get a consumer to push the buy button. Whether it’s a Bluetooth speaker, software subscription, or (gasp!) extended auto warranty, marketers want to get you from considering a purchase to plunking down your credit card.
The science of marketing has changed a lot over the years. Once upon a time, planners (the folks that place advertisements) had a broad idea of what type of people would watch a t.v. show or read a magazine. Using that knowledge let them be strategic in where they would buy space.
These days, planners have so much more information and they can hyper-target ads on almost any medium. Of course, that got a little wacky, and now our digital marketing friends are going back to the drawing board to find and place advertisements. Let’s see how that plays out.
Communication is the tool that we marketers use to bring your attention to that thing that you must have right now.
What keeps agencies like ours busy is the incredibly broad swath of available communication channels to move a consumer into awareness, consideration, convincing, and purchasing.
Newsletters, brochures, blog posts, placed articles (where a marketer pays a publication to run an article), social media, video, sales collateral, and so much more. Note, we’re excluding pure advertising from this list because communications like these are designed to inform much like newspapers and magazines.
Call it soft advertising if you will, because it is transmitting information about why this product is better than that.
The keys are connection, trust-building, and informing. The way you do that depends on the audience.
What’s the best way to communicate with my audience?
We’re going to spend the next month going in-depth around the different types of communication devices, but here’s a quick primer on what’s what:
Newsletters — One of the best ways to engage, inform, and entertain an audience. We’ve produced print and email newsletters for external and internal readers across a number of different industries.
Blog Posts — Company news, project stories, personnel profiles, industry perspectives are just some of the things you can include on your website. It’s great for visitors to learn more about your company and great for the search engine crawlers to show your value to the internet.
Brochures — A classic in the communications business, brochures are great ways to “go home” with people that are interested in your product or service. The key is to be carefully focused in the content so that you don’t confuse the reader when they’re away from you.
Sales Collateral — We’ve worked with a multitude of sales people who use sales collateral one sheets as leave behinds. Sales collateral should clearly spell out expertise while telling a strong story about the company and its history. Good photography and clean designs are also musts.
Placed Articles — Our PR friends use placed media to ensure that their client’s message is not diluted by some pesky journalist. Utilizing articles in print publications or on websites is a great way to own your narrative and push important information.
Social Media Content — Social Media Managers used to be nice to have, but now they are a necessity. Gone are the days of a shotgun approach to creating content for social media, now it’s about social media platform specific content delivered to the right audience and exactly the right time. For businesses without internal resourcing, agencies like ours become extensions of your team delivering targeted social media content that connects and converts.
What goes into a communications strategy?
Okay, let’s make this a list.
- Define the message
- Define the audience
- Determine the best way to get that message to your audience (newsletters, sales collateral, blog posts, social media posts etc.)
- Define the social media channels (if it’s social media content)
- Brainstorm, interview, research, write, edit, write, edit.
- Imagine, design, flow copy, design, have the writer cut copy, design.
- Publish when and where you know your audience will see the material.
With the rise of social media affecting the way the world consumes content, we take a deeper dive into social media strategy to offer some helpful guidance for you and your social media team.
How do you organize content ideas?
Content Pillars – Guide your content planning and social media posts
Creating content pillars should be one of the first things as part of your social media strategy. Content pillars help you guide and plan posts so you can maximize the return on your social media efforts.
Content pillars key topics your brand will consistently discuss, amplify, and create content for on social media. You may also know these as content categories or content buckets.
In general, 2 – 5 content pillars are sufficient with the weighting across pillars based on your key audiences and your key audience needs. If you haven’t already, you should definitely look at adding pillars to your social media content strategy.
Use a Content Calendar for organizing social media content
A social media content calendar (social media calendars) is a tool that helps you plan and schedule social media posts ahead of time. Leveraging your content pillars, it is an invaluable part of the content creation process, taking the stress out of continually having to generate content ideas for posts by allowing you to plan posts 1-3 months ahead. In short, it helps to supercharge your social media posting schedule.
When it’s well maintained and executed, a social media content calendar is a godsend for social media planning, helping you decide what content to share while also tracking the deadlines. This helps focus your social media content plans and gives you the peace of mind knowing you’re covered for upcoming social media posts. There are a number of free social media calendar tools available, search around for the one that best suits you.
What is the best social media management tool?
The use of social media is one of the most powerful tools available to modern businesses. Using it will help you attract new clients, increase traffic to your website, and keep existing clients engaged with your business.
A social media management platform lets you manage your entire social media presence from one app. Allowing you to automate, analyze, and manage social media platforms, you can focus on creating content that your target audience will love.
Buffer has been one of the longest-running social media tools for scheduling posts, although it has undergone multiple updates and shifts over the years. Buffer supports Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. You can connect up to three social accounts, including Facebook Pages and groups, but you can only schedule 10 posts per channel for free users.
With an excellent user dashboard that lets you manage your social media networks in one place, and scheduling tools that make creating posts a breeze, it’s easy to see why Sprout Social is the favorite choice for a lot of businesses.
The platform’s usability, publishing features, and analytics – across all major social media platforms – also add to the platforms already long list of benefits.
Hootsuite will meet all of your social media management needs if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution.
An incredibly powerful tool for social media, it allows you to schedule messages, create and manage potential posts, monitor your various inboxes, run boosted post advertising campaigns and more. It supports all the major social channels in Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest, and offers some of the most intuitive analytics you’ll find from a platform.
How do I get started?
Contact us! We’ll walk you through every step of content planning and production, work hand in hand with you, and produce materials that will raise awareness, express expertise, convince, and connect.