First and foremost, content marketing is an exercise in relationship-building. For brands, the list of incentives for galvanizing and sustaining an engaging online presence is a long one, including opportunities to conduct real-time market research, crowdsource problems and ideas for innovation, gain insight into customer complaints, and strengthen brand loyalty. But content creators often forget to answer one basic question: What’s in it for the customer?
To help you sustain the brand-customer relationship, here are three tips for building brand engagement through content.
Your brand’s content can’t help or engage anyone if no one is around to read it — so be strategic about when and where you’re trying to engage with your audience!
That may sound like common sense, but at TrackMaven, we’ve found that most content marketing is, in fact, failing to engage. In our Retweet Report, for example, we analyzed nearly 6 million brand tweets and found that 72.2 percent of all tweets got only 0-10 retweets. Nearly a third of those tweets (27 percent) got zero retweets!
Keep in mind that you cannot create community around your brand by simply showing up on social networks, nor will any sparse smattering of content across channels build communal momentum. To help you determine when and where to distribute content, consult this SlideShare, “A Complete Guide to the Best Times to Post on Social Media (and More!).”
Brand-consumer communication across digital channels offers a highly visible, real-time opportunity to build brand affinity around common interests. Customers are drawn to brands by content, and the more valuable the content is to the consumer, the better. Again, that sounds like common sense, right?
Research says otherwise. According to Adobe’s 2013 Global Report, when consumers were asked, “Where do you get the most credible information about products and brands?” only 3 percent of respondents said that brand social media pages were the most credible.
To provide truly relevant, credible content to your audience, keep your buyer personas top of mind. (Read more on developing content for your buyer personas here.)
Social networks have created an opportunity to integrate branded and interpersonal communication. Just as in your personal relationships, online brand communities are built upon principles of creating and fostering communication.
In fact, consumers have come to expect more engagement from brands via social media. According to Lithium, over a third of consumers report that their “opinions about brands and products are shaped by social media.” However, Lithium also found that while 74 percent of marketers say that creating a community around their brand is a social media business objective, only 18 percent of marketers say their company has one.
Keep in mind that approaching digital marketing as a broadcast mechanism does not make for a valuable brand-consumer dynamic. The most engaging brands treat digital marketing platforms as opportunities for two-way dialogue. Remember, content marketing is a long-term play, and it requires a strategy with both a holistic approach to relationship-building and the data to help you separate the content that’s working from the content that’s failing.