Remember right about this time last year and the types of content you worried about?
Think back to a simpler time when all you really worried about as far as your content was your monthly blog, a newsletter, some links getting shared out by your profiles, and maybe an infographic every so often.
Those were the days, weren’t they? Livestreaming was mostly for people who attended conferences or worked for celebrities and political campaigns. Your SEO, paid social campaigns, and Google AdWords took care of your online traffic. Organic (unpaid) social media was really just window dressing.
Times have changed.
Not only has livestreaming advanced at a breakneck pace in the last 12 months alone, but messaging apps like Snapchat (I mean, really like Snapchat) have completely blown up. New ways to connect with your customers have placed themselves in the landscape of social media, and now your brand must keep up to compete.
Going forward and for the foreseeable future, these are the three types of content your business needs to plan in your marketing and sales strategy.
Many types of content fall in the realm of what you can add to your social posting schedule.
First, there’s the home-grown content you create and publish yourself. Your business blog, newsletters, white papers, how-to videos, testimonial features, case studies, etc. These items may be time-sensitive or evergreen, but they live on your digital property and can be shared out to your audiences to entice them back to your website to complete valuable interactions.
Second, you have curated content to share. These are the articles, videos, infographics, and other news-like content created by other entities which you can also schedule and share. The key is to ensure the content meets three criteria:
- It doesn’t sell a competitor’s product or service;
- it does reinforce for your customers why your product or service is valuable to them;
- it’s timely and credible.
OK, that’s actually four criteria… glad you were paying attention! So will your audience when you routinely provide them with resource articles and knowledge that ultimately reminds them, “Hey, this article about X was shared out by Company Y. It’s about time I ask them about helping me with X, since that’s what they do.”
One last thing about scheduled content: it’s OK to post content if you’re not on that social platform right at that second. Just like sending out your newsletter at 9:30am every 1st Tuesday is OK even though you might not be sitting and looking at your Gmail tab right that second. Scheduling and a degree of automation is perfectly fine–IF your goal is to engage authentically with the results of that scheduled or automated content.
Which leads us to the next type of content…
This is the part where you should be what you were born to be: human.
Social media is a long game of marketing. Trust and credibility build as you show your humanity in real-time on social media because, in the long run, it’s all about relationship.
Social really is like dating. If you seek a lifelong commitment and partnership with another being, your best bet is not to create ties after a hasty date when all the other person did was hand you a flyer describing why they’ll be valuable to you. There’s no proof in that pudding; instead, you’re taking it all on assumption and a heartless pitch.
However, if you take your time and learn about the other person through familiarity, faithfulness, and authenticity, ultimately you’re ready to commit because you’ve seen evidence of a great relationship on the horizon. Yet none of that walking-into-the-sunset can happen if you never really get a taste of how the other interacts in real-life.
And we’re back to how you need to be on social: BE on social. Read other people’s posts and like them. Share them if they’re relevant. Comment to get a dialogue going. Tag others to draw them into the chat. Discover a new article and share it while describing why it struck a chord.
You can’t schedule this type of content. You have to be present and actually live a bit on the platforms you’re using to draw attention to your business.
Did we say “live?” Well, since we’re on a roll, let’s tackle the last and newest type of content you need to use…
Live Video Content
Surely you saw this coming, right? Livestreaming, social video, live video marketing… it’s being whispered (and sometimes not so whispered) about everywhere as more brands take to their video apps each day.
And there’s no wondering why. Back in 2011, the average U.S. adult spent 21 minutes watching digital video. This year, that’s going up to one hour and 16 minutes of watching video on digital devices. Your customers’ eyeballs are lingering longer on video content, and each platform places live video at the top of their algorithms (a.k.a. formula for your feed).
Livestream video can’t live in the scheduled part of your content (aside from letting people know when you’ll go live) simply because pushing “Go” requires at least one person to be there and ready to host the livestream. It also needs its own category aside from the active content we mentioned earlier because it really is in its own ecosystem of content and engagement.
- Live video is fully interactive, inviting real-time questions and comments by viewers.
- Live video goes farther than typing or swiping words to another user through active social; your face, voice, and environment are transparently evident to all who watch it.
- Live video is unproduced and uneditable; what you say is what they get. It’s the most real side of your business you can present, other than welcoming customers into your store.
If you’re stuck on how to get started with livestreaming content, check out our other blog post for some ideas. Here are just a few:
- Introduce your team who works behind the scenes.
- Demonstrate how to locate your place of business (like Google Maps with a tour guide).
- Make important announcements with the added bonus of Q&A from the audience.
The anomaly of the bunch is…
Stories. These are the apps and features which have swept through Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Facebook itself, and even other apps like WhatsApp and Tango.
Stories (or, in Messenger’s case, Days) are a type of hybrid content between Active and Live Video. They are active in that you can’t schedule them to post or upload in the future; they have to be created in the moment. They are live video in that Instagram Stories has a live option, and you can actually get on a live video chat through private Snaps and Facebook Messenger. That, plus we’re all predicting it’s only a matter of time until each of these Stories-friendly apps adds livestreaming to their capabilities.
So that’s yet another type of content you need to consider, since your customers have them all in their hot little hands to use and watch during their average one-hour-16-minutes of digital video per day.
It’s all going to be OK.
This may sound incredibly daunting to a business leader or marketer for a brand who is wondering right now, “HOW in the world will I possibly get all of this content done?”
Chances are some changes need to be made. These digital types of content and ways to engage with your customers are incredibly effective. Even better, they are cost-efficient, time-saving, and humanizing for your brand. Whatever you’re doing now, there are likely ways we can build a new way forward as you bring these types of content to your customers.