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Social Media Gives Consumers and Brands a Direct Connection

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Jessica Davis  – Enjoy! 

photo credit: Matt Hamm via photopin cc

photo credit: Matt Hamm via photopin cc

Remember a time when it was not possible to share your opinions about a specific product with others because there was no outlet. Not too long ago, the consumer was considered to be at the bottom of the pyramid. There was no way to display dissatisfaction with the services received or products purchased.

However, consumers today enjoy a very different situation, all thanks to social media. Through social media outlets, consumers have been able to easily convey their opinions – whether it be criticism or praise – about various brands. There is now an opportunity for consumers and brands to actually build a working relationship in which views can be exchanged and opinions can be voiced.

For brands, understanding the consumer and knowing what they think about the product can prove to be very beneficial. Also, brands with a strong consumer following can benefit from starting a direct line of communication through social media marketing to engage with the very consumership that purchases their products or services. Along with big-name brands and corporations, small businesses and start-up companies can also benefit from having a proper social media system in place.

Social media – a public forum

Social media websites provide a platform for buyers to voice their opinion in an open forum where their voice can be heard by other like-minded individuals. By building strength in numbers, consumers can get their point across to reputed organizations and brands, and force them to change their product through the use of social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more. Take the recent example of consumer outrage in Canada and USA against Vitalife’s dog treats, which, according to claims are of inferior-quality and have been linked to the deaths of many dogs. Many of the consumers have banded together on Facebook, demanding that the product be pulled off the shelves.

This is just one of the many ways consumers have found for making their voices heard. Brands too, have realized the potential that lies in using social media for marketing purposes, and several brands have adopted this medium as one of their main marketing tools. Through sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more, brands can make important information available for their loyal consumership. This can include exclusive sales, promotional offers, rewards, etc., Information about the product and its production process can be shared with consumers who feel more empowered after gaining more knowledge about their favorite product. Companies can make more use of this opportunity by posting details about the product and organization along with the process that is involved in the creation of the product.

Brand-consumer relationship

There has also been a dramatic shift in the relationship between a brand and a consumer. Social media has taken power and control out of the hands of large corporations and famous brands, and has put it in the hands of the consumers. Realizing this, many CEOs and other top level executives of big name brands have taken to Facebook and Twitter to engage directly with the customers who might be buying their products.

Through the use of social media companies can chart out their marketing strategies depending on what the consumers feel. Companies are posting questions, and asking consumers to share their views on a new product, suggest a flavor for a specific food brand, and are even asking consumers to submit their art for a new logo or product cover. Businesses are not just sticking to content on social media, but also creating interesting podcasts and videos to promote ideas for new products and campaigns. This process makes the consumers feel more involved in the marketing process and the fact that they have provided some input in the process makes them trust the brand more.

Consumer interaction through social media

More and more consumers have started interacting with each other over websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more, and promoting their favorite products on these platforms. This gives the business more exposure, and an opportunity to understand their buyers, their needs and their dissatisfaction. Businesses can gain more insight on improving their product by spotting unhappy customers early on and taking steps accordingly.

Ensuring that consumers feel valuable can help businesses stay two steps ahead of their competitors in this ever-changing market. Social media has drastically changed the marketing game for businesses. The sooner companies realize the importance of social media and the role it plays in marketing, the sooner they can start reaping the endless rewards it offers.

Jessica Davis photoJessica Davis is a Content Strategy expert at Godot Media, a leading content services company. She works with other Godot copywriters to create engaging and effective web content for businesses and individuals. She is also interested in technology, social media and fashion.

 

How and Why to Conduct a Meaningful Content Audit

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Liz O’Neil Dennison – Enjoy!

Content AuditYou’ve probably heard that a content audit is essential for driving engagement and revenue with content. But what is it, exactly? Why do you need one? And how do you do begin to tackle such a laborious task?

Read on.

What Is a Content Audit?

A content audit is a qualitative analysis of all the content your company has ever published online. It exposes where your content actually lives, how it’s performing, and where the thematic gaps are.

Before you can audit your content, you need to create a content inventory, a comprehensive list of the name, location, and description of each asset published by your brand.

Why Conduct a Content Audit?

If you don’t know what content you have, and how it’s performing, you can’t improve. The key to driving more leads, traffic and revenue through your content marketing is by identifying holes in your content deliverables.

With the content audit, you can understand which buyer personas and buying stages are poorly resourced, find and share content internally, access historical performance data, and identify what content should be archived or removed entirely.

Despite the clear values of the content audit, very few marketers actually conduct one. That’s because auditing content is a notoriously painful process. It can take weeks, or even months, to find, analyze, and document each asset your company has ever published online. But it doesn’t have to.

How to Conduct a Content Audit without Pulling Your Hair Out

Auditing your content isn’t rocket science. But there are critical steps all marketers must take to ensure their audit will be actually be useful. Here are the top five:

Step 1. Create Your Inventory

Before analyzing your content, you need a comprehensive list of it. Perform an inventory of all of your content across all of your brand domains, including social. If you’re going about this manually, document the name, URL, and description of each content asset in a spreadsheet.

If you have a significant body of content to manage, you’re better off just typing your brand URLs into a tool like The Content Auditor, which will automate this inventory process for you.

Step 2. Identify What Content Categories Matter Most

Get the most out of your audit by understanding what content categories are most important, both internally and externally. Your audit should provide a map of those attributes across your entire content library so you can see where the holes are.

For example, tagging content to buyer personas allows you to see what personas you’re ignoring. Tagging content to your buying cycle tells you if you need to dedicate more resources to building top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, or bottom-of-funnel content. Common content categories to tag include:

  • Author
  • Publish date
  • Persona
  • Buying Stage
  • Theme
  • Buyer-centric or product-centric
  • Product line
  • Blog category
  • Keywords
  • Content type
  • Competitor
  • Primary call to action
  • Content pillar
  • Social shares
  • Comments
  • Redundant, outdated, or trivial (ROT)

Include these categories in your excel spreadsheet and tag each asset appropriately or, if you’re using an automated tool, scroll through your online inventory to tag content.

Step 3. Map Your Content

When you’ve tagged all of your assets, you’ll end up with a pretty cool content map. You’ll be able to see which personas, buying stages, and themes you’re serving with content, and where you need to step up.

Sift through your content map and identify where the holes are. Then, brainstorm easy ways you can fill those gaps. Perhaps there’s a whitepaper or eBook you can repurpose to serve a different audience. Or you can plan to ramp up your social promotion to feed the top of your sales funnel.

Content Audit

photo creditcontentauditor.com

Step 4. Analyze the Performance of Your Content

What content is performing well, and what isn’t? Your audit should include key content KPIs so you can see what themes, content types, and messages are resonating with your target audience.

Track metrics like social shares, traffic, leads, and revenue. And align your findings around four key areas: production, engagement, performance, and content scoring. This way, you can make informed decisions about future content marketing efforts.

Step 5: Present Your Findings

Once you map your content through your audit, present your findings in a coherent way.

Don’t just include the data from your audit. Suggest what that data means for your company’s future marketing strategy.

Expose the content holes in your major themes, personas, and buying stages. Suggest how you’ll fill these gaps by repurposing existing content, archiving or removing irrelevant content, and producing more of the kinds of content that have proved successful. Propose new processes to support these changes.

Get Auditing

You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you are. And with tools like The Content Auditor, marketers no longer have an excuse for avoiding what Rebecca Lieb calls “the cornerstone of content strategy.” What you don’t know can kill you. Stop living in the dark, and get auditing.

Content Audit AuthorAbout Liz O’Neil Dennison – Liz is content marketing manager at Kapost, a software that allows marketers to develop, manage, distribute and analyze their content from one place. Prior to Kapost, she advised big brands like AT&T on their content strategy at Location3 Media, a digital marketing agency. And before that, she spearheaded global marketing campaigns for ONE, an anti-poverty advocacy organization co-founded by Bono. She loves beekeeping, running and exploring the mountains with her dog. Follow her at @lizkoneill

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