Get your Content Marketing strategy right before jumping into Social Media

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There’s plenty of pressure these days for organisations to jump on the social media bandwagon.  You’ve just got to get blogging, Tweeting, LinkedIning, Facebooking, Google+ing and everything else in between.  You’ve seen the numbers – LinkedIn has almost 150m members, there are now more than 100m active Twitter users, more than 3.5bn pieces of content are shared on Facebook each week.  They are so impressive, so large, that getting involved must be the right thing to do.  So what are you waiting for?

Perhaps it’s the question: “What exactly am I going to talk about?”

If that is the case, it’s time to take a step back and start to think about your content strategy.  Get to grips with this before you get involved with social media and you’ll have a far better chance of your activity being engaging at a customer level and being a success. And, importantly, giving you and your organisation a return on its investment.

So how do you go about doing this and why is it so important?

Firstly, it’s important to understand your online target audience.  This is likely to form only a part of your total target audience.  After all you have to be realistic; you won’t be able to engage with all of your clients or prospective clients online.

Next, think about where you can find them online.  The web is full of forums; places to meet and share information.  This includes the ‘biggies’ such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ but there are plenty of others as well.  www.ipminetwork.com (for the international health insurance community) and www.myslipcase.co.uk (for the insurance and reinsurance community), for example, are very industry-specific social forums.  What these lack in terms of numbers (in comparison, that is), they often make up for in terms of subject and audience relevance.  So use the biggies (if relevant) but don’t ignore the niches sites.

Finally, produce information that your target audience will find of useful, educational or interesting. And do so consistently and by using a structured plan.  This sounds obvious but it takes research and planning to ensure you are regularly producing content that will make a difference and putting it in front of the people you are trying to influence.  And don’t forget that it can take a number of forms; blogs, podcasts, eBooks, videos, infographics and so on.

And why is your content strategy so important to your social media activity?  Simple: it gives you a ready-made resource of original and relevant information to draw from and direct people back to when pushing your brand online.