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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Finding the sweet spot for content and social media driven strategy

Earlier this month, my work days were filled with the review of a relatively new page from my employer's Japanese presence. Specifically, it was to do with a significant acquisition from this past summer, and what it meant (and continues to signify) for our current and potential clients. A tremendous amount of investment used to be required, in traditional marketing models, to ensure that the public would become aware of such news. But in a social media driven world, strategy (and its optimized implementation) has become the key to successfully conveying the right message to the right subset of the populace.

Customers generally think they know what they are looking for, and perform web based searches accordingly. However, there are several types of content available from the following types of sources:

  • Traditional "broadcast" style content - that is, what businesses wish to convey to new and potential customers about their offerings.
  • Anecdotal, social media driven content - what existing customers, with their own biases and varying levels of credibility, have discussed about the business and those same offerings.
  • Third party (e.g. Forrester Research) sources also provide useful content and competitive comparisons.
Now, I invite you to examine the crudely drawn Venn diagram below (I have never claimed to have strong graphic skills, and this example amply - and literally - illustrates why):
Showing the intersections of traditional marketing, content available via social media, and the body of information customers are seeking, in Venn diagram form.

The shift to inbound marketing means the focus on marketing content generation has moved from the area shaded in yellow, to the areas shaded in blue and green. I would posit, however, that the green area is of the highest value to potential customers, as it can be substantiated by a third party. Given the overall burgeoning of all online content, honing in on the truly valuable content has increasingly become challenging.
The enablement of social media driven content to be presented in aggregators and newsfeeds on official business sites is represented here in the area shaded in orange. This body of content too, is increasing in volume and prominence for B2B.
There also exists content that customers don't realize consciously that would be beneficial to them and thus are not seeking - which may come from any of the areas in yellow, orange, or pink. Even when this is optimized for the most salient topics or keywords, the right people are not choosing to search for them, so it remains difficult to discover.
From this last point, I would hope that part of content strategy for businesses includes the effort to identify and optimize these useful pieces of their online presence. And I look forward to doing exactly this for several of my clients in 2014.

About Mayo

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Professional: As "Senior Enterprise SEO Strategist" in IBM's Digital Marketing division, I provide consulting and training services for both internal and external clients. Formerly I was involved in Natural Language Processing, software localization, quality assurance and documentation authoring.
Personal: INTJ Nikkei Nisei ex-patriated Canadian who takes photographs and enjoys Baroque through late Classical music. The G+ page shares some of the "best of" photos.