May 9, 2016
The Annual Facebook Report from Simply Measured, which features information from the top 100 global brands, shows that there was a 12 percent decrease in quarterly posts to Facebook pages by marketers in Q1 2015. Surprisingly, the average engagement rates have risen.
To understand this phenomenon, we have to understand that the social media landscape is changing at lightning speed and the major players – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat – are writing the rules in real time. They are watching the brands and people that are succeeding at building engaged audiences online and creating platforms to support the content that is working. It’s an amazing time to be in media.
There was a time when posting more content helped grow your brand. SEO was king and you could manipulate the system with poorly written, keyword-packed posts and see your business grow. Brands hired content mills to write blog posts, website copy and social media that was barely readable and unhelpful, but boosted rankings in social algorithms and Google search results. When developers recognized how detrimental this was for the user, they began to change the algorithms to favor high-quality content and engagement. Users almost always have the option to hide or report content that seems out of place. Ironically, the best way to “hack the content algorithm” now is to create more human content.
Instead of creating high-volume, low-cost content that tries to trick the system, the real investment is in time and creativity. The content that is most effective in our experience-focused industry is content that is unique, helpful and provides value.
When creating content, make these your priorities:
Credibility counts: A content creator who understands your business, your industry and your customer is a valuable asset to your marketing strategy. That means you should hire a real person you can talk to.
You don’t necessarily need to hire a full-time, dedicated social media writer. Consider working with an agency that will dedicate a real person to your company’s needs. It’s important that they are willing to listen to and understand the intricacies of your business goals. They are going to be the voice behind your brand and will be representing your company. This is too important to delegate to someone you don’t have a relationship with. The days of content mills and keyword blogs are over.
Create conversations: Listening is just as important to your strategy as promoting your products and services. Some managers might see scanning Facebook and Twitter as a waste of time, but that is where real conversations about your brand are happening.
Being able to answer a common question in a public forum might answer that question for thousands of other potential customers, too. Solving a problem before it becomes a point of frustration can create a loyal customer before he or she becomes a disgruntled customer with a loud social media megaphone. Creating conversations and listening to customer conversations may not be the flashiest media stunt, but it carries the most value.
Longform content is king: Prospects are smart. They have learned which sites provide helpful content and which to skip over. They can sniff out a scam in less time than it takes to load a website. They have become disillusioned with over-hyped content and big promises. Content boasting “the 10 most life-changing ways to be awesome” don’t have the same attention-grabbing power they once did.
Now, potential customers are willing to read through a 2,500-word article if they find it helpful. They have learned to organize and prioritize content and are willing to trust a brand that brings them value. They value authenticity and transparency more than hype. They want to go in depth and learn things from experts and brands. We shouldn’t shy away from longform content because it’s time consuming or more expensive. Investing in valuable content results in customers who are willing to invest in us as companies they trust.
This should come as a relief. Instead of content dumping on your company blog or posting social messages that you aren’t proud of, now you can focus your time and energy on creative and thoughtful social interactions and posts that speak to a targeted audience. The technology is supporting businesses who support their customers.
For more information on how your business can create better content that connects to customers in your area and on the web, get in touch with our media experts to schedule a consultation.