Digital strategy: rich content is not a luxury!

We have been talking several times of content strategy among my previous posts on this blog. This reminds me of how necessary it is to insist on what content can be created nowadays. And how it is important to be sufficiently efficient in order to be properly assimilated by your audience.

In other words, if “content is king”, it is absolutely necessary to understand that content deserves its crown: and to do so it has to be adapted to your audiences to fit their expectations… and you have only 15 seconds to catch their attention!

Therefore, using rich content is also key! If you want to attract your customers and maintain them, treat theme like kings and start by sharing valuable content with them!

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Tell your story:

This will also allow you to go a deep further by taking real engagements as well as creating your own legend.

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I really like the Chipotle’s campaign: the scarecrow represents the abnormality, the exception. But finally, it will manage to propose something new and with real benefit for the others. Between Don Quichote and Batman, this scarecrow it is no more a “IT”, but becomes a he with personality and ability to improve others life and satisfy their expectancies by being committed with what he prepares

Prolong the experience

Chipotle’s strategy is very interesting because they have understand how critical it is to have a multi channel approach in order to enhance the experience and also make sute this experience will be a long term strategy that will help to create a real saga with a hero!

With Chipotle’s Scarecrow, you’ll have the opportunity to download a videogame where you’ll be able to play with this character:

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Use your audience

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As Coca-Cola has recently begun to do it in France by mobilizing key instagramers users and conciliating this with a huge advertising campaign.

By using instagramers, Coca Cola France aims at creating user generated content through other instagramers

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Keep writing… but aim at engaging with them!

Because writing is also a good way to improve your seo. Because some of your audience wants to read. But also because it shows how real you are! How to do that?

To my mind, I think, one of the best ways to do it is by:

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  • Asking questions: what do they want, how do they feel… example: “is that me or this bird seems to have been eating to much seeds or ice creams?”
  • Illustrating with key facts!
  • Providing them with synthesis or reports: due to infobesity, we are surrounded by content, charts and figures… Let’s try to digest them in order they could be more easily digested by your audience…

Do you have any other ideas to catch this attention? What would be your advice to create this content?

Social media engagement: do not think your community exists, you have to create it!

I’ve been writing a few times that content has to be designed according to the expectations of your customers. Easy to say no? I must admit we need to go a little deeper in this!

Share content expected by your community… once you know your community! What all this imply for someone who wants to take the leap of social media engagement on behalf of his company?

Identify your potential community…

It’s not only about gathering and getting new followers. You have to engage with them if you want to reach them. But before that you have to think of what people can really be valuable for your business… and as a result think of what valuable information you can bring to them.

Creating a contest with great prizes is generally used to do so. Yet people might want to win the contest because of the prize, not because it is you or your company that is giving the prize. In other words, you’ll have a huge amount of people who could connect with your social media account, with no future intentions of receiving any other things from you except this super travel you want to offer to them at the moment!

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Finally, If of course I can be really interested in travelling to South Africa, it is required to consider to what extent the community created around this event is really valuable or not. Of course, some will definitely go to South Africa one day, but the rest of it might be more opportunistic and would just have traveled there because they have won the price, not because they dream of it.

Speaking of dreams, it shows how important are emotions on social media as soon as you want to create a community. Sharing pictures on behalf of a company aims at creating emotions. Amex for instance shares pictures from concerts, fashion défilé etc…:

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Amex strategy is interesting because it its instagram account shows also events in which some of its customers are invited. So if you want to be part of the club, think of Amex! 🙂

Because in the end if you for instance intend to raise the awareness of your customers or of potential customers about your brand, the message can’t be only reduced to the products you are selling. You have to think for your community, before your own interest!

then you create your community!

Once you have defined a few ideas about what you think your community can be. You’ll create it: by sharing, listening, engaging, answering to their remarks, expectations, will, etc…

By doing it frequently but above all, accurately this will show you are committed to bring valuable information and discussions to these people. Since sharing content and information is key in every single content strategy you might design. You can’t afford to only fire and forgot a content when it suits you once in a while.

You have to be active, not only because algorithm are what they are, but above all because your community exists around the information you share and the interactions (RTs and favs for Twitter, Likes and share on Facebook, etc…) discussions that are linked to it. You create something with them, there must be a reaction. Like in this video for instance:

Accurately also means that you know when this activity happens!  I usually escape every article claiming that the key in terms of digital brand strategy is key moments to post. Of course there are some moments during which your community might be more connected. It implies that you know your community first! And then you might be able to determine what are the best moments to post your content.

As a conclusion I would add that again, all this implies that you are able to listen (see one of my previous post on that topic), understand, accept and react to your community comments and expectations. But relax, isn’t it what we do in real life?

Is my content strategy really worth it?

You have decided to invest in content creation but you don’t succeed in measuring its ROI… Are your efforts still worth it? Should you continue? I should say yes for the following reasons

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1/ It’s a long term strategy to learn: because you will!

I recently started learning chinese. The path seems a long path before being able to speak chinese (I don’t even say fluently). Content creation and content management can be the same for companies. Especially for companies that are accepting social media changes because social media is there and you can’t do without them today. It might be a little be easier for companies eager to use it for identified reasons

I think content creation is legitimate as soon as it can help you to improve your SEO and therefore your visibility.

It helps you to learn about this new challenges: in terms of organization, procedures, resources required to to do. Knowledge is still power, and it’s only by experimenting that you can learn easily.

I really like the example of Gibson. Because learning how to play guitar is definitely a long term strategy. But when you think that you can find on Gibson’s website lessons on how to play guitar! That’s a real valuable content for customers even if Gibson’s reputation might not require that!

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Gibsons has even pushed the boundaries a little bit further: you can even benefit of live guitar classes once a week via Ustream… This is really an effective content strategy!

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2/ If you don’t have set proper goals.. then you will

You can easily find articles claiming that you have to set proper goals. Yet, in real life, due to lack of knowledge, fear of novelty, companies can be reluctant to set specific goals on such topics: improve reputation, create awareness are the most common goals. What if you start to think of really specific goals, linked to your business objectives?

It might be difficult sometimes to find it internally due to reluctancy to change. Nevertheless you can also decide to be opportunistic. Have a look at what people are posting when they mention you. Instagram, PInterest or Tumblr are really worth it!

It can help you to identify and target third party content creators. Then you’ll have the ability to repost best pictures you’ve found on such social networks in order to promote your our business or interests

You’ll see what you can do with this content and how you can reach some customers you might have not think about… And on top of that you’ll have partially solved the question about: how am I going to create content related to my business?

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3/ And what if you can’t measure it… then you will!

All companies are not entitled to be seen because of a videos buzz. Some does yet! Nevertheless these kind of metrics are really worth it. Maybe your customers community on the web is made of 2000 people. If only 200 of them have like your page or better, your most recent post, then you are already in contact 10% of them. 10% matter, don’t they?

Snapchat continues to be seen as full of potential social network but brands are still reluctant to use it. nevertheless it could be interesting to use it as a sneak peak to new collections, initiatives, hidden moment from companies. Imagine using Snapchat as a way to share with connections pictures from the backstage. Companies, organizations are frequently criticized for not being enough transparent.

Of course it would answer to a communication strategy. Yet, it could give a specific highlight that customers might be waiting for I really like the campaign of Free People (textile industry):

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Then what? How could I assess the ROI of this use. The following video could help you:

All this shows how important it is to set accurate goals and to dare to set them. This is a on-going process on which you’ll learn a lot for sur and this will cost you money. But at the end creating a community dedicated and ready to learn and to interact with you is the first objective to seek. Because this community might become your next customers… or simply decide to be your best advocates!

Love and brands: an ideal marriage?

Happy Valentines Day to everyone! World can be really crazy, all the more when you think of emotions generated by brands.

But how can a brand react to passionnate customers ? Can a brand be passionate or inspire love?

Do we have to tatoo our best customers?

brandIf you consider that web users can switch from a website to another in a few seconds just because you did not catch his/her attention, people taking time to have theimselves tatooed is an amazing!

These guys, they just want to hear about you. You already have their attention. So you have to keep it!

As a result, it’s not about how you can generate things to them but how you can understand their needs and take care of them!

Don’t yield to the temptation of infobesity and opportunism

Infobesity is a huge risk. What if tomorrow every single brand decides to communicate about Valentine’s day?

Over communicating, or beeing too opportunistic can create at the end, unsatisfaction by communicating without having a clear vision of whhy they communicate.

Valentine’s day during the week-end has been an important moment for brands in order to be more promotionnal… maybe too much?

I was really amused by this Twitter account proposing to replace the gifts received during the day by goodies with the club’s logo. I must confess I’m a big fan of this soccer team but… eriously??? It’s Valentine’s day not Christmas!

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Quality and relevance are essential

Time has come to create qualitative content that really matters and not only take the opportunities of some moments during the year in order to create a communication plan.

Of course these moments can be good levererages in order to gain some exposition but if you are part of it, I reasonnably think it’s better for your image. Sorry but your brand may not be Godiva… and you’ll have top accept it!

If you cannot be clearly linked to that special event, then you must be really good if you want to be visible and if you want that visibility prooves to be really valuable for your customers! Because what matters most is to create enough engagement with your customers for giving them a good reason to come back on your Page or Website!

My favourite brand must be a partner

forrestOf course, you definitely have to think outside of the box in order to be creative and efficient.

And sometimes you also have to try because it is how you can learn things and improve it!

And finally it’s all about undertstanding that communicating on social media is not only about selling. But raising awereness, improove your brand recognition and to manage to create a relationship that matters to your customer.

The brand becomes a partner. And this is this partnership that create the will to come back at your shop .

Have a look a Topshop and Topman, it’s not only about saying that you’ll find the perfect outfit for your date, it’s also saying we understand you and can be with you in some of your moments in life:

But if you went through the all video, you’ll understand that now Topshop and Topman should invest in a “cat rental service”! 🙂

Listening before engaging for brands: what does it mean? Be emotional!

Social media listening and brand engagement are fundamental when it comes to increase your customer satisfaction. 

Customer satisfaction is frequently assimilated to unsatisfaction or customers nightmares. Many brands have understood they have to do their best in order to give and create better customer experience. (all the more if you consider that 64% of marketers value existing customers over new ones)

Nevertheless social media listening is not only a procedure with tools and resources to display it… It is above all a mindset!

Firt try to understand

An unsatisfied customer wants in priority to complain about your product or its experience. Wherever this complaint is visible, your customer wants it to be visible. Try first not to delete/suppress the content he posted and try to accept it.

Only by respecting this, you’ll be able to understand what he might have felt. Because all these complaints from emotions generated by: disastisfaction (I payed for it but I didn’t receive what I paid for!), concerns (Where is the gift I bought to my wife for Valentine’s day) or anger (“I was treated bad by your customer service” or “the flight attendants did not help me with my trolley and my 2 kids”…)…

It is clearly a matter of emotions and claiming that something went wrong for one of your customer might be his/her last resort!

The ultimate last resort: mentionning that your exeperience was even worst than flying with Ryan Air! 🙂

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Be emotionnal

As a result a brand has to raise its level of empathy and communicate as an individual with feelings and emotions

But what could be the emotions of a Chanel or IKEA? It is too easy to consider that brands are not meant to express emotions! They are and always have been doing it! From the famous Enjoy by Coca Cola or Mac Donald “Lovin it”, these famous brands are deeply commited to create emotions. Let’s have a look at The North Face for example:

But being emotional is not necessarily to create emotions by reaching the sky and stars! But of course, in a certain way you’ll have to push your own limits. And that means to receive the messsage above all and accept it: this will allow you to understand it and react properly to it. In other words, if you’ve failed a simple “sorry”, “my apologies” will be expected by your customers and with no doubt really welcome.

Zappos is a good example for that:

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Take the leap… You can’t escape

greatpowerSocial media has nevertheless brought huge changes. These brands have now the power to listen. With such great power comes great responsibilities… Social media moniroring and social media listening are valuable assets. It helps detecting potential crisis communications but I would prefer to underline that instead of worrying about crisis, companies should worry about their customer satisfaction. Because these customers believe in you, invest in you and become naturally part of your own community

Would you abandon a member of your family on the side of the road? Social media works the same! So if you consider that customers are not only “customers complaint”, think of the potential for companies to create long term relationship with their customers: thnik of the following example.

Northface’s community manager seems to have totally change the mood of the customer. Not only can Northface produce great ads full of emotions, but by answering properly, by apologizing and adding concrete actions North Face could have secured this customer for a long time!

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By being reactive and careful with its community a brand can definitely win the challenges imposed by social media changes. I really like the following 2014 example of Jet Blue I recently discovered, which is their answer to a tweet which was not even a complaint against the company!

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It shows that once you have decided to be in the business at the social media age you have to take care of every member and potential member of your community. This is a pretty difficult challenge for every company, but it is quite a commitment for companies who try to do it and could be proud of!

Discovering Asia: a few takeaways about social media in China

I’m currently attending to Online Marketing, Social Media and Mobile in Travel Asia in Hong Kong.

My main objectives are: identifying key best practices and having a better understanding of social media habits in Asia. How inspiring! I will make a few brief blog posts about what I’ve learned.

Here are a fwe takeaways that retained my attention so far about social media and challenges with digital communication in China :

Millennials by millions

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China is expected to reach 400M millennials in the future.

When you consider that 93% of the millennials share their experiences, pics and reviews when they are travelling… Giving them valuable experiences is crucial!

Mobile is king

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Smartphones are becoming much more used that any other king of PCs or laptop, especially when it comes to consult information, share content, etc…

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But applications can be a real nightmare to manage! Android app stores are numerous in China!

 

 

As well as chinese social networks?

In this landscape, some of them are only app-based social networks which give more accuracy to the previous idea!

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Nevertheless Chinese social networks require to jump in: being present there is not only about having a local focused approach. Claiming you are on asian social networks can be valuable not only in order to show what are your intentions in terms of business but also that your care for your customers wherever they are!

If you have the local ressources in order to deliver accurate messages, use correctly such tools and create an interactive communication with your potential customers in China, I would suggest to jump in simply and learn fast before your competitors do!

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What about your own experiences? How did you get in the social media business and digital communications in China? Are you considering to do it? Did you fail to do it? Tell us more in the comments!

Social media: be open minded as a brand, break down the barriers!

“Do you think this new Facebook campaign is gonna be good or bad for us?”

In spite of having run several social media campaign in your company, you’re still facing people explaining that you will sooner or later learn how bad could social media be for a brand.

It is a risk of course, but a risk which is worth it for many reasons. One of the most important to me is that you’re finally meeting your customers, the general public who can also even not know your brand but can be mooved by your brand!

Then, what are the challenges you have to face daily to create your audience satisfaction?

Create content you’re proud of!

“Good content always has an objective; it’s created with intent. It therefore carries triggers to action.” Ann Handley.

I really like this campaign. #LikeaGirl is no more something that must be seen as insultant, it is something that matters, it’s about respect and confidence! This video is really great because it shows how child are confident and reluctant to accept social determinism.

Besides Always had the good idea to create use this hashtag as a way to compliment someone.

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It also about saying that sex equality is already there, of course not everywhere but signs of it are there and should not be forgotten; if you think that only huge muscle guys can play football in the US… Then I think Always can proove you that you’re wrong!

Always has even become one of the official sponsor of the Superbowlalways2

If this tiny little voice in your head is saying, “are you sure you want to do it like that” it migth be a sign of the potential difficulties you might be facing.

Still, at some point you’ll have to jump in, and experience in the reality if you concerns or expectations where right or not. But you’ll necessarily discover new ones and already have to accept it!

Accept criticism…

You’ve worked a lot on that campaign but people don’t like it. Worse you have to face a lot of criticisms…

Critics are not necessarily dramatic if you seize it as a good leverage to change things … and if you have the ability to change things!

It becomes a little bit more dramatic when you’ve created something that you thought could be fun… but is outrageous for your audience. Take a look at what happen to this cute dog in Go Daddy’s commercial that was initially planned to be broadcasted during the Super Bowl final!

I’m a really cute dog but Go Daddy was not very cool to me in their advertising (He’s too cute, I’m gonna rescue him and we’ll become best friends forever:-) )

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Do you even imagine if they have decided to keep this  advertising programmed for the most viewed sports event in the year in the US?

In France, the 3 Suisses a online shop was accused of having used the wave of emotion generated by the #JeSuisCharlie on its twitter account.

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Some of the web users decided to answer by creating sarcastic content like the following:

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All these examples show how much it is still important today to be priorly worried of what emotions brand messages can create nowadays. And since an emotion is created by the brand, internet users also have the power to answer to it and create another kind of emotion: indignation that could lead to boycott or massive critics online.

Answer to your critics!

Critics might no be easy to handle and sometimes you can only apologize and moove on. US Airways didn’t have anymore things to do when they accidentally posted an obscene picture on their Twitter!

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In many cases, critics are not directly linked to controversial actions or communications from a brand.

Therefore critics must be seen as a good opportunity. In a way, they can show that people are caring for what you’ve said. Maybe you have just mistaken in the way you express yourself. Such feedbacks are valuable in order to wonder if the content you’ve designed is really accurate or not.

And may be it’s the time for you to apologize and correct things, not necessarily within your campaign or your communications, but sometimes directly regarding the quality of the products or services you’re proposing.

It can also reveal a lack of organization and resources diretcly in the structure of the company. And if you don’t want such situation to happen, you have to do something!

What if we don’t have any answers to bring, either in terms of communications or organization?

Let go… if you are convinced you’ve done your best!

trollYou can’t manage everything. At some point you just have to let things go. because in today economy, things no more belong to you.

Communities and customers own your brand and you owe them to be good in what you do and what you bring to them!

But remember that some people might be just excellent at trolling your feeds:  if you are facing obvious and inflammatory statements that are meant to bait people into reacting. ..Welcome! You’re not watching at the Lord of The Ring yet, you’re facing a troll! Whatever upsetting it might be, be reasonnable, don’t think that answering must be systematic: do not feed the troll!

What about you, what are the best campaigns you have in mind, the worst, what are the lessons you’ve learned from it?