Before You Begin

Before You Begin This Social Media Guide For Agencies

Humans are fundamentally wired to connect. According to Matthew Liberman, author of Social, connections are so core to our being that when they are not nurtured and monitored it can cause long-term health issues. Community matters to everyone.

Brands have seen the very real benefits (and deficits) of online communities through the rise of social media. As brands better understand the power of the community and the power of adding value to consumer lives through digital avenues, they become healthier businesses.

The business world is watching. 93% of companies see the value that customer collaboration presents for the marketing department (Oracle, Socially Driven Collaboration). And that’s just one small way brands can benefit from building a community.

In this post, we’ve put together a practical guide to creating your own brand-driven community. You’ll learn how to identify if building a community is a good use of your (very limited) time. We walk through how to find the right audience for your community and what you might serve them that will bring them value.

Then, to cover tactics, we talk about what platforms are available and how to grow that community into something really special. Finally, we offer helpful tips in getting maximum value out of your community and nurturing the community at large.

We hope you’ll find this guide helpful. Enjoy!

Exploring Different Social Networks

The Big 3 Social Networks

There’s something to be said about a white t-shirt. No, it may not be revolutionary at this point, but you keep going back to it time and time again because it works. Though social media is constantly changing, there are some social platforms that are the white t-shirt for your brand.

We can’t overstate the impact being active on Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn can have on your brand. Don’t be so fast to jump into the more niche platforms and broaden your strategy without having these staples mastered.

Facebook

I know – your grandmother probably has Facebook by now (as does mine). But that doesn’t mean that Facebook is past its prime. It just means you have a cool grandma. Facebook has evolved from a platform for college kids to a full-blown business tool – including e-commerce, sponsored ads, and buy buttons. The popularity of video content can also be exhibited on Facebook as it’s ramped up its video strategy, putting it in direct competition with YouTube.

Branding through storytelling is natural on Facebook because the platform is long and short-form content friendly, and it offers a conversational environment for audiences to share their experiences and opinions. By taking advantage of all these business tools available to your brand, you can take your Facebook strategy to the next level.

Twitter

Twitter shines brightest in terms of a B2B marketing platform. Easy access to influential leaders, customers, communities, and trending topics can help keep your brand one step ahead. The brevity of Twitter adds a certain instantaneous factor you can’t find on other platforms.

That being said, with constant updates and refreshing, Tweets can be fleeting. Your brand needs to find the perfect bite-size content that packs a punch and stands above the noise. Think witty one-liners, quick stats, or infographics. It’s times like these a strong video and GIF game works wonders – since Twitter text is limited to 140 characters, visuals should play a key role when creating content.

LinkedIn

We’ve all heard the expression, You’ve got to network to get work – and LinkedIn offers just that, plus more. This go-to platform for the industry-savvy goes beyond just professional networking – adding voice and personalization to a brand through content distribution or communicating with others. Not to mention, LinkedIn serves as an excellent platform to establish your brand as a thought leader among other professionals – encouraging leads and conversions. As employee advocacy continues to climb the social strategy ladder, LinkedIn is the perfect blend of professional and social to naturally amplify your brand through employees. Whats not to love?

The Other Guys

So you’re looking hot in your white t-shirt – what makes it look so good? Layering, of course! A nice jacket or button down shirt will do wonders for your image.

In the world of social media marketing, change and innovation are inevitable. Especially when it comes to social media platforms and how marketers can communicate and engage with their audience. Be consistent with the basic white t-shirt platforms, but successfully integrating new and trending platforms can aid in skyrocket your social media reach and engagement – if you use them properly.

Instagram

Though many of us are familiar with the platform – around 5 million of us – Instagram has been a major game changer for marketers. Allowing visuals and spontaneous photos to take center stage adds an element of authenticity and creates a platform that is campaign, product knowledge, brand awareness friendly. Instagram is the be-all and end-all for user generated content. In addition to campaigns, marketers should focus on emotional connections and experiences to resonate with audience members.

Snapchat

What is it about expiring 10-second photos that can really pack such a punch? Sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes, special events, promotions, and user generated content can all be found while snapping.

Brands aren’t limiting the use of Snapchat for marketing – take recruitment for example. Hiring a junior marketer? Get them to send in a one of a kind snap illustrating why they should be hired! Between geo-filters, custom filters and stickers, personalization is a challenge no more. The expiration of content also creates a cliffhanger for your audience, leaving them wanting more! Not to mention the youth market flocks to this platform since their parents don’t understand it.

Snapchat has had its features widely copied by some of the other networks, leaving marketers wondering if it’s still worth investing in. To help, we’ve compared Snapchat vs. Facebook and Snapchat vs. Instagram to give you a better picture of the current social landscape.

YouTube

If you want to develop a community surrounding video, YouTube is the place to be.

It’s no exaggeration to say that YouTube has completely redefined popular culture; anybody can become a celebrity and have their own show and loyal following without having to go through producers and television networks. Videos that do well are easily shared, and often more consumed than written content.

As a brand, you can build up a following here by providing useful how-to videos, behind the scenes videos or speaking to your audience’s interests in blending information with entertainment. Being funny or entertaining is the key to getting regular eyeballs on this platform, and is where influencer strategy becomes valuable. YouTube is also a valuable advertising channel for brands who can get their messages down to short but influential videos.

Pinterest

Pinterest is for the curious, the creative, and the self-driven – it is the ultimate platform for artistic, hobby and DIY content. The visual platform sparks audience’s interest by taking them from just looking, to wanting to learn more about your product – all within a very simple and short piece of content. The audience members on Pinterest are looking to discover. Engaging and relevant Pins can include how-tos, instructions, lists, and multi-product content.

Additionally, Pinterest offers a tasteful and creative alternative to traditional branding. If brands can be found as a member of the Pinterest community, the sharing of values and interests will be sure to resonate with audiences. Nothing brings people (and products) together like shared values.

Google+

Google as a social media platform? At the end of the day, the goal of creating and distributing content is to drive leads. Google+ achieves this by allowing your brand to share relevant content, engage with those audience members with similar interests, and encourage those audiences to visit your website to learn more – boosting your traffic and ideally your leads. Google+ cultivates genuine and conversational interactions between brands and audiences through the casual environment. This human interaction with a brand will not only build a relationship but also trust – and that’s priceless.

The Joy of the New

Our favorite part about new platforms is the ability to experiment with content, discovering which will work best for you and your brand. While it’s crucial for your brand to be present on popular and trending platforms, don’t let that overshadow your social media content strategy. Ensure that whichever platforms you use – whether that’s a few or a lot – are chosen based on the ability to reach goals and targets, not just popularity.

Exploring New Media

Exploring New Media

More new forms of media!? But I just figured out the last ones!

I know – sometimes it can seem impossible to keep up with the ever-changing world of social media. But we shouldn’t let new forms of media scare us – we should embrace them! Emojis, GIFs, live video, and most recently, cinemagraphs, are the new media that’s turning heads.

Even though it may take us a while to find our groove with each new form of media, integrating them into your content strategy will pay off in the long run when it comes to engagement and communication if you use them properly.

Emoji

Don’t spell it out to me – emoji it to me. Emojis are a quick and easy way to convey a feeling, tell a story, and most importantly, boost engagement. The cute emoticons offer another way to communicate with consumers and humanize your brand – because everyone uses emojis! Consumers are always on the move – so the ability to communicate with your brand in a fun way (and in record time) is crucial.

The trick is to find the right emoji for the right message. There is nothing worse than an emoji faux pas. When it comes to campaigns and promotions, emojis can be that extra spark of personality your brand needs to drive results. Whether that means communicating with customers, or having a full campaign surrounding emojis, the possibilities are endless!

GIF

The pronunciation of GIF continues to be up for debate, but the punch they can add to your brand on social media is indisputable. Brands are using new media (GIFs included) to communicate to consumers on a personal level, showcase brand personality, and resonate with consumers.

Wondering how you can show your customer how to use a product, or navigate your web page? Why not use a GIF! They’re a great tool to create valuable and unique content. GIFs are also the ultimate media when it comes to social media community engagement – plus, they’re shareable! Whats not to love? Just make sure that GIFs resonate with your audience, otherwise they come off as inauthentic.

Cinemagraphs

Think of cinemagraphs as the older, more sophisticated cousin of GIFs that always seems to be effortlessly graceful. Their subtle approach to storytelling will intrigue audience members more than a static image. The difference? Only a certain area of the image moves, while the rest remains still. This attention to detail can aid your customer in focusing on certain products or aspects of a campaign your cinemagraph can showcase. Not only is this visual medium an economic alternative to video content, their short format optimized for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram allows for easy consumption.

On more and more occasions were seeing brands opting for cinemagraphs. Whether it be social media platforms, newsletters, or email campaigns – if a brand is looking to engage, odds are you’ll find a cinemagraph. From products and promotions to specials events and launches, cinemagraphs can add that extra dash of creativity to separate you from the pack.

Live Video

The more a customer can identify with your brand, the more likely they are to return and engage – that’s no secret. Whether that be through shared values, opinions, or just interests – humanizing your brand and involving your customers is a great way to build that relationship and connect. Live Video is one of the best ways you can achieve this. Showcasing your brand on a personal and cultural scale could include behind-the-scenes content, sneak peeks, or Q&A with customers! Inviting your audience to contribute is a great way to spark conversation and learn more about your market.

Before you go Live, try to have some plan established as to what you’ll be doing, but don’t be afraid to take risks – it is live, after all. Plus, if you’re broadcasting using Facebook Live, you can save the Live video to repurpose or share on other platforms! We could all benefit from some more evergreen content.

The right medium for the right audience

Regardless of which new form of media you choose to introduce into your content strategy, they can be used in a variety of ways. Think about the goals of your content, who your audience is, and how they’re likely to engage with new forms of media. Experiment with new forms of content and discover how they can make your content more interesting.

How to Create a Social Media Community That Sticks Around

How to Create a Social Media Community That Sticks Around

Playing the Long Game

Community building is a long-term commitment that won’t show obvious results right out of the gate. For many community builders, you’re going to need to manage expectations properly to retain support over time and that means setting up proper goals and scalable key performance indicators (KPI). These goals should tie directly into what kind of community you’re looking to build; Is it an engaged community that interacts with your content or promotes your brand? Or are you aiming for an engaged community that builds up a core of subject matter experts (SMEs) who can morph into brand ambassadors and carry your flag to other communities?

By identifying the type of community you want that will further your organization’s strategic goals, you can then build targeted, measurable benchmarks to sustain momentum on this long journey.

It’s a lot of work to build a community from scratch, but it is a powerful solution to building trust and reputation with your audience. No matter what platform you choose to achieve your brand goals, there are many things to consider. Here are a few questions that will help you make good brand-driven community decisions.

1. Is building community a good use of your resources?

Before you jump into the deep end of the community pool, you need to identify if developing a community is within the resources you have at your disposal. Honestly, it’s a no-brainer that building communities is important. The question you must ask is, are you capable of building one with what you have available?

Time Keeps Ticking Away

Building a community takes time. This is the main resource you’re going to need. Keep in mind that you don’t need major platforms or significant budgets in the beginning. Creating a community is about building connections, one person at a time. It can be as simple as creating a hashtag and using it while reaching out to those with similar interests in social media. Or creating a monthly in-person meeting to bring like-minded people together to share and participate in a common unifier, such as your brand, product, or interest.

You want an engaged community, regardless of size, and the key to reaching that lofty goal is setting realistic expectations from the start. If you can not commit internally to the time and energy required over the long-term that is necessary to build a quality community, then don’t build it.

2. Who is the right fit for your community?

You can start to see that launching a community isn’t as simple as deciding on a topic, picking a community platform, and opening the doors to the public. It’s highly unlikely you can build a community that speaks to all the personas your organization comes into contact with over the course of a given day. That’s why it’s important to narrow the focus of your community to a group that would realistically form strong community bonds with each other.

Identify the WHY?

The first step in identifying the right audience is defining the “why?” Why are you building a community? What business objective do you aim to use it to fulfill? Your “why?” is your first filter for narrowing your target audience. Next, think about which of your personas have day-to-day interests or responsibilities that align with your “why?”

Define the focus

Deciding on an area of focus and audience segments for your community is the next step because this begins to shape who and where your community will be. When brainstorming what types of people and brands you want to pay attention to you online, remember that people join communities for two reasons: to learn and to grow.

Make sure that the type of content and discussions you choose to base your community around will fill both of those needs. For instance, if you were creating a community focused on a tool that helps people track their digital marketing analytics, you’d need to decide whether you want to focus on providing end users with customer service and technical support, communicating with administrators and helping them make better use of the platform, or encouraging collaboration across your partner network. Each of these scenarios has a very different audience you’d be cultivating.

Adding Value

Once you’ve identified who your community will serve, you’ll want to do some quick research to see if you have competition for their attention. If there is an active established community that already serves your audience, what unique benefit are you able to bring to them that the existing community can’t easily add?

People have limited time and attention, so it is important you find an underserved audience you can support and champion through your community.

Having said that, you can choose a topic that’s already being discussed, AS LONG AS you do something different or provide a value that other communities are missing. If you do the same thing and try to start a community on something that already has an established community, no one will join it. Make sure you offer something different!

3. How do you identify your platform and audience?

A community that doesn’t interact within itself doesn’t grow! Where you choose to host your community is crucial to its longevity and success.

Online Community History Lesson

The oldest (online) form of community is message boards. Admins are clearly defined, moderating a post is fairly easy, and it’s pretty easy to use from a users standpoint. Where these tend to fall short, from the end-user side, is that it requires consistent checking and there are no notifications outside of email (and who wants ANOTHER email in their inbox?).

A modern approach to community

Social media is a bit more convenient because EVERYONE, in some capacity, uses it. Hosting your community within a Facebook or LinkedIn Group still provides you with some level of Admin & Moderator access where you can control the conversation, but growing that community from a group page can be slow/difficult because you have to be promoting it actively, and publicly, or rely on endorsements from people already in your group.

Then there are Twitter Chats. Twitter chats can be amazing due to the fact that you’re having a public discussion that anyone can join, which increases your odds of growing that community. The drawback? Absolutely no admin/moderator privileges that allow you to control the conversation within your hashtag.

There are also numerous apps that have a community aspect to it. Some that come to mind are Slack, Lets Chat, MatterMost, Rocket.Chat, and yes, HeyOrca through #OrcaChat.

Getting people involved

Remember that this all comes before launching the community. Once you have decided on the place(s) to have your community, tapping your network for industry/topic experts and influencers is next on your list. Get people who have a following involved who can spare an hour of their time. Ask them to share it with their network for an additional boost. Most influencers enjoy doing stuff like this. It helps them grow their network and it helps you promote your community, which is exactly what you need since we’re not promoting a Field of Dreams mindset where, If you build it, they will come. No, you need to find ways to market your community!

3, 2, 1 Blast Off! Launching the Community

Last but not least, launching the community. You’ve figured out your why, you’ve picked your topic, you’ve done your persona research, you have experts and influencers on board and you’ve all been advertising this community. Now what? Now you launch!

Kick it off where you interview an expert and get group feedback/testimonials, have your community ask questions, GET THEM INVOLVED. Remember, people join communities to LEARN and to GROW, and they can’t do that if they don’t get involved. This is where consistency comes into play. Make sure you are regularly engaging your community.

Come up with new topics, introduce new experts/influencers, ask questions, give responses, encourage networking within the community; a community is like a garden where it needs consistent love and support. Without engagement, your community will just wither and die.

4. How do you create brand ambassadors in your community?

You may be surprised to hear that, more often than not, communities develop for brands without their active involvement. The onsets of these groups are often made up of a brands core loyalists. These loyalists have often decided on their own that they identify with a specific brand and are eager to find others that feel and believe the same. That’s where you come in. It’s up to you to provide a safe gathering place for this group to gather as a community.

Examples of successful brand communities

The internet is ripe with examples of communities ranging from obvious to obscure. Below are a few examples of communities that have congregated in a wide variety of locations:

Go RVing Facebook Page

A community is often a place people get away to in order to share personal experiences with like-minded individuals. When you’re getting away to talk about getting away then Facebooks Go RVing page is the place for you and 700K others who feel the same.

Trolli Microsite

People are passionate about all sorts of things, but this one was a surprise. Candy is universally enjoyed, but seeing just how active the community of Trolli gummy advocates makes it obvious that there’s a community out there for everyone.

The GIF Wolfpack Twitter/Slack Community

Did you know that GIFs are the single greatest way to communicate on the web? You may not think so, but this group sure does. They found each other through a variety of twitter chats, bonded through #GIFdanceparty, and then created a group of their own volition where they could revel in all things graphics interchange format.

Avoiding Failure Means Celebrating Loyalty

If you do a Google Search for online communities then you’re likely to see a lot of information on the failure of groups like those listed above. That’s because a community cannot thrive if its loyal members aren’t fostered into brand advocates. Loyal members are active participants, but advocates are active recruiters. Without the ongoing addition of new members with fresh ideas and fresh content, communities can often become stale.

The nurturing of community into brand advocates can be a labor-intensive proposition, but it’s a valuable one. The key is the investment you’re willing to make in those key stakeholders. By speaking with them and not at them, actually learning about them and their expertise and their pain points, you show them just how highly you value their participation and loyalty. It’s the kind of experience that people remember and the kind of experience that keeps them coming back for more. The benefit of advocates is that they’ll bring others with them when they return.

Ultimately, the long-term success of your community building and advocacy means you can subtract yourself from the conversation while allowing your advocates to carry your brand message forward. As long as you provide a safe haven for your followers and foster content for discussion they will carry your good name forward loyally on your behalf, always ready to help when called upon. There are few things more surprising than that.

5. How do you nurture and grow your community?

It’s easy for communities to lose steam and fizzle out if there isn’t a nurture and growth plan in place. When a community is brand new, the members you’ve curated will be excited to be there. Who doesn’t love being part of something new, especially with their peers? However, maintaining the community takes time and effort. How will you keep your members coming back to participate in discussions, and more importantly start discussions amongst themselves?

Nurture the community with content themes

No matter the platform, having a theme for discussion is the easiest way to initiate conversation. Once you’ve created the content themes, share them with your community so they know what to expect in the coming weeks.

Get the community involved

This is such an easy win for nurturing a community. In addition to the content themes, ask questions about topics tied to the purpose of your community. It could be something related to the news of the day, or general questions about your industry. This will also help you get to know your members better.

Celebrate community members

Self-promotion can get a little tricky and quickly turn into spam in a community. If the conversation is suddenly overtaken by everyone dropping links to their latest blog posts, you’ll quickly lose members. Instead, create a space for them to promote their work.

Depending on the platform, this could be a dedicated channel or a weekly thread you create where they can share links in the comments. An good example is the Content Marketing World community on Slack. They’ve created a dedicated channel for promotion. In Facebook groups, having a dedicated day of the week for a promo thread can work wonders and avoid a barrage of self-serving posts that discourage community engagement.

Encourage feedback

A community is a living thing that’ll constantly evolve with the ebbs and flows of incoming members. Make sure you always have a pulse on the needs of your members by encouraging them to give you feedback (in a dedicated channel or by asking for it on a regular basis). Once you have the feedback, actively look for ways to implement it in ways that benefit the good of your community. Remember that not every suggestion will be beneficial for the entire community.

Have a group of trusted moderators

At first, the Content Marketing World community was run by one person. Once the community began to grow, it became clear that having the whole community run by a sole decision maker would be challenging. So they reached out to three other members and asked them if they could help nurture the community and manage feedback.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to growing a community is to remain flexible while protecting the mission statement and values you’ve created. It’s the key to building a community that is healthy and will last beyond the first 90 days.

Tying Social Media to Business Objectives

Tying Social Media to Business Objectives

Branding with a Community

When you brand with a community, you get valuable insight into your consumer base. They work together by improving multiple factors. You can connect with your audience authentically and improve your customer loyalty. By showing your human side on social media, your conversion rates will increase.

Social media is also a vast playground of leads and customers, so your conversion opportunities are also increased. And because you have more channels to use, you have more of a chance to use your brand’s voice, so your recognition is improved. People will start talking about you (yes, you!) increasing your brand authority. The best part, social media is cost-effective and having a presence improves your SEO.

How and where the two meet

Building community is way more than just marketing at people. It means lots of time and relationship-building to achieve social capital. Social capital means long-term relationships, cooperation, networks, reciprocity, and open platforms. Sounds like a lot of work, right? But it’s worth it. Where social capital meets human and financial capital is ROI.

Case Study: PlayStation

On the PlayStation Community by Sony, users can quickly find exactly what they need game, interests, support. This ease-of-use has contributed to the great success of the PlayStation Community. The Community is connected to PlayStations social media, where users see company-generated and user-generated content. User-generated content has unlimited appeal and scalability, especially with features like PlayStations ability to capture clips and upload them directly online. So you can play and share and learn all at once!

Customer Support

Customer service and support

Customer service and support are two vital components for any company. Support is a function of service to help customers use a product correctly and make informed decisions, such as planning, installation, training, help, maintenance, upgrades, and termination. This information can be found by calling and talking to someone, searching online, and making use of a company’s community, knowledge base, or support forum, or by finding the technical documentation that came with the product.

When the customer service is quick and friendly, it makes a positive impression. Think about a time when customer service strengthened or weakened your opinion about a product or company.

Customer service is arguably as important as price and product.

When issues are resolved quickly, customers have 24/7 access to information, and service is available in several media (phone, tablet, computer, text), customer satisfaction is notably improved. Tracking these data points allows you to personalize the experience for customers, and who doesn’t love personalized service? Good support can help you keep existing customers and grow your customer base.

An existing customer who acquires multiple products and services is always going to be more valuable than a single-deal customer. The longer you keep a customer, the more valuable they are to you. It’s extremely important to retain customers by giving them optimal experiences at every stage, including, and especially, when there are integrations or hiccups. Everything will not always run smoothly, so prepare for the times when more help is needed.

Beyond support, customer service is beneficial for extracting further data points through surveys, personal relationships, and customer involvement in the product management cycle, including beta testing and involvement in development ideas.

Best practices

To shine in customer service and support and stand out in your customer’s mind, you should be their fan and ally. Customers want a good product at a good price (read: quality for cheap), and when they have a problem or question, they want to be heard and expect a quick response time. Don’t fret, their complaints have merit. Just listen to them and make them feel heard and it will pay off.

Don’t forget to offer issue resolution and Q&A over social channels. Per a 2013 J.D. Power survey, 67% of customers have used a company’s social media for service and support.

Be authentic, share your technology, make your experience easy to share, and respond quickly.

Case Study: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) wanted to improve their customer service beyond best-in-class. They collaborated with Klever tools and services to evaluate their support programs. In 2012, HPE embarked on a five-year plan to train everyone in Knowledge-Centered Support. They also identified and resolved top issues and gaps while fostering a culture of knowledge sharing.

Through their plan, they reduced their publishing time and case volume and extracted useful data about what foundation knowledge articles are most used. HPEs Customer Solution Centre KM team won the HPE Presidents Quality Award in 2015 and it’s no wonder, HPE offers best-in-class multichannel support.

Content distribution

If content is king, distribution is queen.

Content takes top billing, always. Your content strategy can make or break you, but it can’t exist without distribution. You can publish a million great articles, but if people can’t find them, it’s a problem.

Enter earned, paid, and owned media.

Getting further into distribution, it’s important to know the difference between earned, owned, and paid media and how you can make them work for you. Heres a cheat sheet:

Earned (Shares)Paid (Advertising)Owned (Web Properties)
Shares
Mentions
Posts
Reviews
Quotes
References
Syndications
Pay-per-click
Display ads
Retargeting
Paid influencers
Paid content
promotion/sponsors
Social media ads
Website
Mobile site
Social media
Blogs
RSS feeds
Community
Email lists
How do I achieve this in an optimal way?
Good execution

Write shareable and valuable content (popular and trending topics, do your research, make it emotional, and give a new angle)

Build relationships and goodwill

Pitching

B2B and B2C platforms

Targeting

Landing pages

Content gating & ROI (over Twitter and email)

Good planning

80/20 rule: 80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs (see Pareto principle)

Curate useful content

Leverage automation tools

There are a few sweet spots where these efforts overlap:

  • Earned and owned – Drive earned media and traffic with branded content and SEO
  • Paid and earned – Use paid promotion to boost sharing
  • Owned and paid – Take advantage of SEO

To really feel the growth, try to find yourself at the conjunction of all three a comprehensive marketing strategy uses earned, owned, and paid media.

How to optimize distribution for social media

EarnedPaidOwned
Share with the pressKeep a social media calendar

Tap into influencer marketing

Link building

Community engagement

Decide what channels to target and monitor with promoted content based on criteria, such as location, income, age, interests, etc.

Use social media because they have over a million interests that can be targeted

Use landing pages

Amplification (sharing)

Engage with your audience (be authentic, true to your brand, be emotionally charged)

Keyword research

Good owned media results from good planning, while good earned media comes from good execution.

Case Study: BreakingPoint

BreakingPoint, a security-testing platform, used a multichannel social media strategy to generate leads. They started by creating a blog that evolved over time, based on their niche. They scanned online for any industry-relevant information, joined conversations, and broke stories with any viral potential. Then they started a Twitter account. With this account, they informed their audience of new blog posts, retweeted pertinent information, and decided to supplement with fun posts; here, they also scanned for relevant information.

Next, they created a LinkedIn group and a Facebook group but decided not to pursue Facebook based on their target audience. The LinkedIn group was focused on discussing issues related to their industry, not the company. This generated conversations that were industry-relevant, such as advice on buying decisions and feedback on approaches.

BreakingPoint acted as hosts. They also changed their strategy for press releases, deciding to release more of them at a different time of day, and revamped their content. Then BreakingPoint began promoting their social media on their website and email to encourage participation. Through all this, they measured their efforts, and after six months, they had proven a correlation between using social media and an increase in web traffic and leads. Now, inbound web traffic is their major source of leads.

Contributors

CONTRIBUTORS

CRISTIAN CONTRERAS
Head of Growth, HeyOrca

Cristian has 10 years of experience helping start-ups improve their market reach, strategic positioning, and disruptive potential. He is marketing professional with a broad range of experience and deep technical expertise; a self-taught web developer with a background in sales, who is particularly passionate about using qualitative insights to solve quantitative problems.

JAMIE DOYLE
Content Specialist, HeyOrca

Jamie is currently in her third year of a joint degree in Commerce and Communications at Memorial University and is stoked to be working alongside such innovators here at HeyOrca. She’s excited to contribute her love of writing to all things content, communications, and social media-oriented. Jamie is an avid music listener, coffee drinker, and traveler. Stops to pet dogs.

JAY BORENSTEIN
Content Marketer, HeyOrca

Jay Borenstein is a content marketer with HeyOrca, who has a B.Ed. and used to be a teacher but it drove him crazy so he decided to write for the web. In his spare time, he enjoys long walks on the balmy beaches of Canada, tea and scones, gaming, and writing for his blog Nerd Speaker. You can also find him at his time share on Twitter as @Jeowulf.

BEN H. ROME
Marketing Manager, AIHA

Ben H. Rome is the Manager of Marketing for the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and has won numerous awards in both marketing and game design. A certified LEGO geek, Ben spends his time split between gaming, writing, and photography. You can peek into his scatterbrained life through his blog, One World at a Time.

BERRAK SARIKAYA
Writer & Editor

Berrak Sarikaya is a natural conversation driver with an undeniable belief in the power of community. Throughout her career, she’s helped various start-ups, small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and agencies Amplify Their Biz. Motivated by a firm belief in owning who you are instead of trying to fit the mold, she spends her days obsessed with the three C’s: Community, Content, Coffee. You can connect with her on Twitter @berrakbiz.

ERIKA HEALD
Chief Content Officer, Arment Dietrich

Erika Heald is the chief content officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She leads the content operation for the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks, with the global domination goal in mind. When not writing for Spin Sucks, you can find her on her blog erikaheald.com, or hosting the weekly #ContentChat Twitter chat.

JASON SHEMMEL
Social Media Manager, HarperCollins Christian Publishing

Jason is an empathic professional who has been working in the social/content marketing industry for the better part of 6 years. Currently the Social Media Manager for HarperCollins Christian Publishing in their Bibles department, Jason builds strategies, creates content, and manages the social presence of 7 different brands. A professional dork at heart, Jason enjoys consulting, mentoring, and sharing expertise via Twitter chat or standard networking practices. He is also developing a podcast called the #GSDChat where he converses with guests about how they get shit done.

JEFF RENOE
Content Strategies, Aspiring Author, Dickson

Within Jeff Renoe beats the heart of a writer. Being named an Indiana Young Author at eleven and a top columnist by the Women’s Press Club of Indiana at seventeen only fueled his passion for the written word. These days, his interests and experience lie across multiple media channels, giving him new avenues and opportunities to tell stories and craft content. Jeff is happily busy as an innovative content strategist for Dickson Company, hosting the Our Fractured Minds podcast, traveling to speak at conventions, and polishing up his first novel, Fracture at Alpha. You can catch him in various Twitter chats at @Renoe for periodic moments of GIFspiration.

MAUREEN JANN
Director of Marketing, Point It Digital Marketing

Maureen Jann is a veteran B2B marketer whose career in digital marketing has grown up with the Internet. Maureen has worked in every corner of marketing making her a skilled tactical resource as well as a strategic partner. Recently, she was the captain of the marketing ship for an award-winning professional services firm and is currently creating a lead generation empire for Point It, a digital marketing agency. She is the hostess for the podcast, Fine Point Digital Marketing Updates, and can be found tweeting in most marketing communities.

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