Friday’s session kicks off with a keynote by Michael Brito, from Edelman Digital. He’ll be presenting on ‘Putting Strategic Pieces Together’, a fairly broad topic that sparked some interesting interview questions. Michael was generous enough to respond to my questions, giving TMM readers a preview of what’s to come at Explore Portland.
Q: In a recent blog post you wrote that “content is the lifeline of the social ecosystem.” Can you expand upon this and perhaps give your content pitch for the non-believers?
As consumers, we consume content everywhere – visually, contextual, offline and online and even on a variety of different devices simultaneously. We search on Google for relevant information. We see advertisements when we commute to and from work/school. We look at photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. We share content with our friends, fans and followers that we find relevant. We “like”, “heart”, “comment on” and RT content that others share. We are inundated with messages (content) much of which are created by brands. We intentionally put up filters, so that we only consume the content that is relevant to us at a specific moment of time. This is a challenge for marketers.
Q: What is the first step you would take to begin to create content and messaging for a social media campaign?
There are several elements that make up a successful content strategy:
- Brand positioning and the core messages
- Target segments – what interests them, their passion and pain points, basic demographics
- The community and media’s perception of the brand – how do they talk about the brand
- Search behavior – how do people search for the brand, industry
These elements coupled with creative thinking can help drive effective storytelling using multiple forms of content (video, photo, contextual) and in different social media channels.
Q: How important is external research for developing a social media strategy? What are the first steps to collecting relevant external insights to help drive valuable content?
External research is the most important element. It provides insights as to what the nature of the conversation is and where it’s happening. Without it, marketers will do what they do best and talk in a vacuum to an audience that isn’t listening or paying any attention.
Q: Do you feel EVERY company needs a Facebook business page? What are the most important social media channels and how does a business best determine where to put its efforts?
No. And every company doesn’t need a Twitter account either. What I would say is that every company should have a blog because of the positive impact on search and it gives B2B companies an opportunity to share and amplify thought leadership. However, companies must perform a conversation audit first because it will give insight as to what the nature of the conversation is and where it’s happening (as I just mentioned). If the conversation is happening on Twitter and not in Facebook, then the priority would be to create content and build community on Twitter.
Q: What are the most common obstacles and mistakes you see businesses making when it comes to digital marketing?
The biggest mistake I see marketers doing is creating new social media channels just because it’s new, their competitors are doing it, or because it’s “the next big thing”. What they lack is a specific content strategy for EACH channel. Too many brands are just re-posting the same content in multiple channels. That is not a smart practice. Additionally, they aren’t thinking of a community management framework and taking into consideration:
- Who is going to respond to comments
- Customer support integration
- Crisis communication protocols
The biggest obstacle is content. Most brands, specifically the digital marketing teams, do not have enough resources to feed the content engine day in and day out. And, they are too close minded to leverage employees (internal advocates) and the community (external advocates) to help with content creation. Also, they don’t realize that curating content can and should be a part of a successful content marketing strategy.
Q: What are the most important changes you see coming over the next five years? Can anyone threaten Facebook? Will Google+ continue to grow? Give us your “insider’s” predictions.
This is a tough one. I am certainly not a visionary. My response would be that it doesn’t really matter which network will over take Facebook or if Google+ will finally catch on. My only advice is that brands must be ready to pivot quickly and be able to foresee changes in the social eco-system. If they do that, they can scale into new network quickly with a smart content plan. In order do this, however, they must operationalize their content marketing strategy.
Q: You are presenting at Explore Portland Friday Nov 16th on “Putting Strategic Pieces Together”. Can you give us a sneak preview and outline who should attend this upcoming session?
I am going to make a case on why brands must transform into media companies; and provide a framework on how to do it using social business planning and initiatives. Anyone involved in marketing (social or otherwise), whether a small or large company, should attend Explore. It’s filled with actionable insights that they can take back and apply almost immediately.