Getting Real About Your Social Media Marketing Plan – Content First!

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Everybody talks about social media as the new Holy Grail of marketing. The fact is that results have been pretty mixed. Relative to the amount of hot air, the hard dollar results are unimpressive. Nobody’s talking about making billions out of social media marketing. That’s unusual in the marketing business, where success is the essential for a good portfolio.

Consider the size and diversity of the social media market. This really is one of the biggest consumer markets on Earth, where user numbers are measured in hundreds of millions and soon in billions. So why isn’t social media marketing making more of an impact? Partly because the old marketing methods don’t match the new market needs.

The answer, in a word, and it only needs one, is:

Content.

This isn’t TV or print marketing. It’s online marketing. These have nothing much in common, and there never was any such thing as social TV marketing. The old marketing approaches just don’t work online.

Why is content so vital?

Long ago, Claude Hopkins, revered as the father of modern advertising, already knew one fundamental law of the trade which has never changed:

Try to sell something to people, and they run away.

He was also the person first to put into words another fundamental principle:

If your advertising content gives people something of value, the content is as good as a sales pitch.

One of the most irritating statements in online marketing at the moment is that “Content is king”. You’d never guess that, looking at some of the social media marketing content. Most social media marketing content falls flat on its face, simply because it has no value to the audience, telling them things they already know or can easily ignore. It’s long past time that marketing got real on this subject and started producing social media materials of value to consumers.

There’s now a new principle involved:

People gravitate to their areas of need online. People don’t really “surf” the net. They go looking for things they want. SEO is based entirely on making things easier to find. With SEO comes the need for content to provide information of value to consumers, because if the information isn’t of value, they’re a click away from going somewhere else.

Planning your content basics

Content really is king. Plan your content to provide value, and you’ll get value. The key to good social media content is planning your page materials.

There are several absolutely basic criteria:

  • Define the consumers you’re you trying to attract.
  • What sort of information is required by these consumers?
  • How do you present that information to be attractive and of value?
  • Can you do a blog, an RSS feed, a link to a podcast, etc. to enhance your content?
  • How do social media users connect with your product?

This gives substance to the original Four Ps of Marketing:

  • Product
  • Positioning
  • Price
  • Promotion

What’s missing here is the focus on content value. It’s the only way to get people to stay on any sort of web page. Provide the content based on those points, and you’ve solved the problem.

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Image credit Tim Green