This is one of the top questions I am asked by my clients. Here are some variations:
Social Media Objectives
Always the most important consideration, you must start at the beginning. Let’s use an example – a software company. Let’s say that this company has 5 different product lines; three of them are well established with strong recognition in the marketplace. But two of these products are new and it’s critical that you bring more attention to its benefits, as well as position your organization as a thought leader in these areas. Of these two product lines, one of them has a “cheerleader,” someone who is quite knowledgeable and loves to share her thoughts. The other product line, while very critical, has a very limited staff at the moment and it’s almost impossible to get their attention for content creation.
Clearly, the group with the thought leader provides the perfect opportunity to create and grow a thriving social media community. There is clear need with associated objectives and with someone at the helm who can serve as a content source.
So how about the group who desperately needs product recognition but has no one who can provide the necessary thought leadership? Here, a decision needs to be made; you can either locate someone in the organization who is at least well-versed in key trends in this area to find and curate content or outsource the content development. If neither of these is an option, you might consider just building content surrounding this group into your corporate Twitter, Facebook or Google+ account.
Key Insight: Do not create social media accounts that you cannot support.
Social Media Content
I already alluded to this above but you really need to let the content, coupled with audience need, drive the decision about how many/which accounts. The reality is that some topics will drive more interest than others. But if you position it correctly – by adding value and not just promoting a product/service – then you will likely find a niche.
It is always challenging to not only locate but also gain buy-in from thought leaders within any company to contribute to content. But keep in mind that if you establish clear objectives, articulate them and put forth a process by which you will gather and publish content, you are much more likely to receive a commitment to content development. If this is challenging for you, I recommend that you read my recent post, How to Make a Blog Happen, in which I discuss how to make content gathering as easy as possible for your stakeholders.
And don’t forget that social media is about publishing both original and curated content; in this way you establish thought leadership for your brand, provide value and build relationships with others.
At the end of the day, though, don’t create social media accounts just because you think you should have them. It’s a lot better to have one Twitter account, for example, with robust content than 4 with sporadic content. If you can only support one corporate account – or if your objectives lead you to one account – then that’s what you should build.
What do you think? What has your experience been with multiple social media accounts? I would love to hear your comments.
I was just reading a blog post about how to write a blog post in an hour – great post by Marsden Associates, 8 Tips to Write a Blog Post in an Hour and Why Often Times You Shouldn't that addresses key considerations for making it happen. And each point is quite valuable in the development of authentic, interesting blogs. But something struck me…
I think I spend more time with my clients working through the challenges of getting people to blog than the actual development of the blogs themselves. It’s the age-old problem:
“I need great content to fuel my website, social media and my overall digital presence. But everyone is so busy and people just don’t see content development at the top of their to-do list.”
This is usually followed by the following questions:
Like anything else, a blog requires resources and a plan. Your blogging goals should light the way to your intended audience and, thus, help you decide WHO should write the posts. Typically, this would not be a PR Manager or someone in Marketing. While these folks can and should assist (I’ll get to that in a bit), the posts should be written by authors who feel passionate about the topics at hand and would be considered thought leaders in their respective fields. This might be an HR Director, a Sales Administrator or the CEO! The audience and content should dictate the author(s).
THE HOW AND THE WHEN
Spread the wealth. Try to make more than one person accountable for blog posts and assign them specific weeks. If you want to be nice, you can ask them how frequently they are willing to create content and if there are specific days/weeks that definitely will not work for them. Then, create the calendar of who is blogging and when. Publish the schedule and send reminders to help them out. But HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE. If they tell you that they can’t craft a post this week then find out if they can commit to the following week and revise the schedule.
Make it as easy for your authors as possible! While it might put a bit more work on you, try your best to work with the style of individual contributors. In other words, find out how they prefer to transmit the content to you and then accept it in that format. When I work with my clients I let them know that we can schedule 15 minute calls where they can just tell me their content, they can record audio files on their iPhone and email it to me, they can write up some notes and email them, send me bullets – you get the picture. And then I will write up the actual posts and get their approval.
You might even decide that it’s best for your PR or Marketing Manager to take on the role of interviewing thought leaders; they can schedule 20 minute calls with contributors, gather the content and then write up the posts. It really all depends upon the style of the thought leaders and the resources you have available to make this happen.
Commit to a blogging frequency and stick to it. Ah, the question of how often you need to blog…there is no standard answer, in my opinion. In a perfect world, we would blog everyday but the reality is that for most of us, this is just not realistic. If possible, blogging 2-3 times per week is recommended. If you can’t commit to this, then I would say that you should plan on at least once per week. But here’s the caveat – whatever the frequency you select, you need to stick with it so that your readers know what to expect.
You could also determine that certain people in your company need to blog more frequently but others might only blog once per month, like your CEO, on very high-level topics. Again, whatever that mix is, spell it out, let the organization know and make sure you stick to it.
Many blogs have been written about developing great blog content, including the one from Marsden Associates, so I will not get into too much detail on that here. But I will recommend the following:
So it would seem that this is out of order – you might be saying, “Shouldn’t THE WHY be first?” My answer is kind of like Curly’s answer from the movie City Slickers when Billy Crystal asks Jack Palance what his secret is – yes, I’m showing my age with this reference. You have to find your “one thing” – it’s probably more than one but it all comes back to your objectives. What’s the purpose of your blog? To increase your brand recognition? To drive new leads? Whatever it is, spell it out and figure out how you are going to measure it.
I have seen the power of blogging and it’s pretty amazing so I’m always excited when my clients commit to creating a vibrant, thought-provoking blog. But I will also say that it’s not for the faint of heart. I would even suggest that in order to get people to truly commit to blogging, managers should incent people to do so and make blogging part of their formal yearly goals.
Okay, it’s your turn. In the comments section, tell us how you have successfully implemented blogging as part of your process. Still struggling with it? Let us know how we can help.
Renay M. Picard
The Take Root Marketing Blog is intended as a vehicle to assist and engage with marketers and social media addicts like myself - please share your thoughts, good, bad or otherwise. I'd love to hear from you!