I’ve noticed an unnerving trend with clients over the past few years that has caused me to stop and focus on how content creation effects our Marketing Strategy.
It’s no surprise that businesses everywhere are realizing their need to be on social media, but I’m finding they are still confused as to why. This becomes apparent in the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner that states 92% of marketers want to know which tactics determine growth, which supports the social trend I typically encounter. Businesses tend to open a social account (or 4), link their accounts from their website, post mostly sales focused content messages for about three months and then give up because they aren’t seeing the “results” they hoped for.
“What’s interesting to me is when asked, “What were the results you hoped for” the answer is “more sales of course!”
Before we move any further in the process of learning to use content for your marketing advantage, I believe it’s extremely important to define the difference between marketing and advertising. This is no Webster’s definition, but a seasoned marketer’s simplified perspective. Sales posts are advertisements. While building long term relations with customers through branded touchpoints (such as content) is marketing. Think of it this way, marketing is the courting phase of a relationship and advertising, the wedding. Advertising is the crescendo after a long vetting process to determine who will commit themselves to you.
“From a marketing perspective it’s no wonder these businesses did not discover the results they were anticipating.”
In all my research on social practitioning and content creation I’ve encountered this common trend with almost every client. “Social Media” is not a machine you can plug a formula into and have it start spitting out the results you want. In fact according to Gary Vaynerchuk there is no social media “It’s just a slang term for how our culture currently refers to the internet.”
But, at the possibility of sounding cliché, your online business interactions need to be social! Why? Because people are using the internet in their vetting process, and long before a business can start a social account (and post any content) the people that business will interact with must be considered. It baffles my mind that businesses who want interactions through liking, sharing and yes purchasing products are often rarely considered in the content creation process.
There is actually a whole psychology behind the process of building a loyal community who are vocal and highly engaging; that psychology starts and stops with the content your brand creates.
I’ve actually found a content formula that is a perfect ratio in terms of building brand interaction and asking for the sale, because yes, there are times to ask for the sale. Those times just shouldn’t dominated your content strategy online. The ratio has been dubbed (not by me) as the 70/20/10 rule. When broken down it looks like this:
70% Custom Branded Stories.
20% Industry related shares.
10% Sales posts.
I’ve been using this posting strategy for a little over 3 years and these are just a few of the results that I was able to accurately record along the way. For this example I’ve decided to focus on engagement rates as that is a strong indicator of the health of your online community as engagement rates are indicative of the likes, shares, comments and posts within that community.
The engagement results you see here came about from implementing the 70/20/10 content creation rule starting in 2016 using the Agorapulse reporting tool to measure results.
To put these numbers in a bit of perspective the typical averages for engagement percentages hover around 2%, regardless of industry. In these reports you’ll see that although the engagement rates fluctuate the goals are always to reach over 2% engaged per month.
What I’ve been able to discover and prove is that there is no reason to settle for a low industry standard when it comes to engagement. Together, we can break through the norms and create content that builds a community that markets for you.