Variation in Content Creation Is Trick to Winning Social [#CZLSF]

Successful social media execution means getting buy-in from everyone. From budgeting to strategies, collaboration across the organization is the heart and soul of your social media strategy.

The day two keynote panel at ClickZ Live San Francisco 2014 was a fireside chat format moderated by Aaron Kahlow, chief executive (CEO) and founder of the Online Marketing Institute. His panelists included Shannon Sullivan Duffy, Facebook’s head of marketing, direct response products; Jeanette Gibson, vice president of community and customer experience at Hootsuite; Chris Pemberton, digital brand manager for Ghirardelli Chocolate Company; and Jim Habig, product marketing manager at YouTube.

The following is a recap of how the panel’s conversation flowed:

Firing first, Facebook’s Shannon Duffy had the first tweetable quote, saying “There is no social advertising anymore. There’s only advertising.” Don’t separate the two. The messaging should be consistent across all advertising teams. This trend continued with other panelists.

“Everything is social. Focus on the marketing strategy,” Pemberton interjected. Ghirardelli tries to make the message match properly in the right channel. They watch the data points and use analytics to figure out the customer’s stories. But, he cautioned, their analytics data doesn’t drive the priorities. It informs Ghirardelli how to make better decisions. At the end of any campaign, the team asks if the strategy worked and if the campaign was successful.

Interacting With Your Audience

Hootsuite’s Gibson informed the audience that people expect to interact with a brand via social. Look at how social customer support has gone, she offered.

YouTube’s Habig wants you to get out of your comfort zone when creating content to interact with your audience.

“Just create something and see how your audience reacts to it,” he said. “Then iterate. Let the audience decide what works.”

All the panel members agreed. Create great content. Watch how your audience reacts, then do more of what works and keep then keep that momentum going. But keep creating different types of content. Pemberton explained how he’d love to create content with photos of chocolate all day. However, one of his most shared content pieces centered around the phrase “A day without chocolate is not a day at all.” This only underscores the importance of creating all kinds of content.

Don’t Ask for Permission

Kahlow then dovetailed about that kind of action plan. Too often marketers get tied up with approvals and perfecting a particular branded message and it kills the movement. His advice: just put that content out there and get it moving.

Your advertising creation should be more like your content marketing. Speak to the customer’s wants; don’t repeat the company message, per se.

Hootsuite’s Gibson offered an example of a coffee shop owner seeing tweets from people around lunchtime saying that they finished lunch and are looking for a cup of coffee. Her advice was to tweet back to them that you have a deal. By doing so, you keep the message in the moment of the situation.

Using Data With Your Social Strategy

Kahlow asked Ghirardelli’s Pemberton, “How are you using data to drive the needle forward?”

Pemberton replied saying he segments his large data sets into smaller sets. He explained that it takes too long to parse the full data set and he doesn’t want to miss the smaller nuggets within those data to be able make those personal connections with the customer.

Duffy of Facebook continued that thought, adding that being able to capture a more intimate conversation with your consumer is Facebook’s focus. Marketers can leverage their CRM data and custom Facebook data. By using custom data sets from Facebook, they can combine the data sets on past customers who bought a particular product and retarget them around holidays or other buying cycles on Facebook directly.

Gibson suggested the more you can make your data more visible, the better. Don’t just leave it with the marketer or the analyst – make sure your data is out there for all to see and understand. Your data tells a story. Don’t simply do the data dump and let someone else sift through it. Explain what your data means. That’s how you tell the story of the data. This is critical for helping convince other stakeholders.

On a similar note, when you’re trying to get your budget passed, say something the senior executives will understand. Part of that explanation is telling the customer story with your data. While doing so, try to connect on an emotional level from your customers’ point of view.

On precisely how to budget, each of the panelists had a different opinion. However, the common thread was to start with a small budget to see what you can do, and to care about your customer issues. Gibson mentioned reminded the audience that a B2B sales cycle takes longer. Establishing the relationship with the customer is important, as is keeping that relationship going throughout the sales cycle. Beyond the sale, keep that relationship going after the sale.

What Is Mobile’s Role in Social?

This was the burning question and clearly a theme across many sessions at ClickZ Live San Francisco – mobile always seems to come into play. Facebook — which knows a thing or two about mobile — chimed in first with a very tweetable comment. “Mobile is not a technology, it’s a consumer behavior.” The first thing consumers do in the morning and last thing they do at night is look at their smartphones. As a result, marketers can’t look at mobile as a channel. They must look of it more of a type of content to reach their consumers.

Pemberton agreed completely. They are currently redesigning the Ghirardelli website from the ground up to be mobile-first. It’s a lifestyle. It’s what people do. Everyone uses mobile for different activities than desktop. A big takeaway from Facebook’s Duffy was that mobile is often a consumer’s first touch with a brand, but people are typically going to convert on the desktop.

The biggest takeaway from the session is that content is key. Create a bunch of different content through various channels and delivery methods, watch it perform, and repeat the process. The rest will fall into place.

Related reading