Relevant and valuable information offered to a customer at the right time can improve customer experience with a brand. Forrester Research concludes that consumers actively seek out information that is relevant to them. They connect positively with brands that reflect and reinforce their concerns, and focus on issues that are important to them. Content has always been considered king of the internet, and especially now that brands can easily gain access to their target audiences through social media sites such as Facebook. It has become clear that brands that use content to connect with their customers are able to improve engagement and customer loyalty as opposed to those that simply use social media to promote their business.
Creating a Content Strategy
Every business needs a content strategy. This is not something that changes from day to day, but in fact is a more comprehensive guideline that helps a business plan the content that it shares on Facebook and other social media sites. A company’s content strategy needs to be developed based on some core issues, and these include brand image, customer profile and the bigger business goals that the content will contribute towards. In other words every time the business posts on Facebook, it does so with thought and planning.
This, then means that a business must schedule the content that it intends to share with its customers. This is important as the schedule will ensure that the business posts on a day and time when it is likely to be seen by a wide audience. It also makes the job of the business manager easier. Most small and medium sized businesses don’t have dedicated social media teams. And thus, scheduling the content makes it easier to manage. This of course doesn’t mean that the schedule should not be flexible and allow spontaneity.
What Should be Shared?
Some business owners may wonder if sharing content is a good idea to begin with. After all there is much to be said about originality. In fact experts’ advice that 50% of a brand’s posts should be linked back to its own blog. 25% of content should be curated and 20% should focus on the business, and 5% should focus on the business ethos and culture. So while it is great for a business to create its own content, it’s also important to share relevant content. Another way of looking at the same picture is the 70/20/10 rule. This suggests that 70% of the content on a Facebook page should be focused on building up brand identity and a strong connection with the customers, 20% should be shared content and 10% can be promotional content.
It is important that a business spends some time choosing the content that it wishes to curate and share with its customers. By doing so, it develops a reputation for offering great and accurate content. To curate content a business needs to first create a list of issues and topics that are of relevance to its audiences. Then it needs to search for all the related content and select the most appropriate information. The search for relevant topics will also help the business identify trends that its customers would be most interested. A business could also offer historical insight on the same issue and add an element of interest to its posts. IBM and Intel do this often, and rather well. Some brands such as Skype love to crowd source an idea so as to see how they react to it.
Adding a hashtag to the post that includes shared content helps the audience follow a trail that would be of interest to them. Hashtags should be used with care and should help customers find relevant conversation based on the post. It is a good idea to avoid adding more than one or two hashtags to a Facebook post. Research indicates that adding more than two hashtags to a post can reduce the number of interactions it generates.
Focus on the Communities
Some brands prefer to have several Facebook pages that focus on different target audiences. This could be based on the products that they would like to focus on or the regional markets they wish to address. For instance P&G has several pages dedicated to its customers in different countries such as Australia and New Zealand and Canada. Accordingly the content that is shared may change or in some cases it may be as useful to one community as it would be to another. The P&G Everyday Facebok page is an excellent example of what kind of content a business should share with its customers.