On my way to the office the other day I pulled up behind a corporate fleet vehicle. There were no markings on the back of the truck that let me know what company I was following. There was however a giant Facebook icon plastered to the bumper with a “like us” call to action.
On one hand I applaud the mystery company for going all in on their social media marketing efforts.
On the other hand, it highlights a mistake a lot of businesses make when adding social media to their digital marketing mix. The bumper-marketing was lacking context. Using social media to reach customers and prospects with the right message at the right time and on the right platform is what I’m talking about here.
Right place, right time
Using a call to action that encourages me, while I was behind the wheel, to rummage through my pocket for my phone and “like” something in a state where mobile phone usage while driving, even while stopped at a stoplight is illegal, is not right place, right time social media strategy.
Further, the platform choice, Facebook was questionable as I had no Idea whose page I was liking or what I was receiving in turn.
Now, let’s say the mystery business was a landscape company. Instead of “like us on Facebook” the bumper marketing was encouraging me to share a picture of my favorite patio moments with a hashtag. Mystery company could be soliciting community-wide engagement in preparation for the upcoming summer patio season. As a bonus, I could participate, even without knowing the company I had been following, just need to recall the hashtag to participate with.
Social Media Strategy starts with a contextual understanding of what moves your audience
Aligning context in your social media marketing efforts simply means gaining an understanding of what’s important to your prospects and customers besides buying your products.
Because the truth is, that’s not the most important thing. Once you start to understand what motivates your audience emotionally, start to think about what kind of media opportunities those moments could create (like the patio photo example above).Then, think of which platforms provide the best opportunity to leverage that media.
Here’s a trick I use.
Create a matrix with the platforms you’re considering across the top and the content (theme & media) you’ve contemplated for those platforms down the side. Place an X in the boxes to the right where you will publish the content.
Here’s an example:
Now that you have the grid laid out of what your content and media plans are, you can see which platforms you will want to use and make informed decisions of where to place call to actions for your social media marketing efforts and avoid the bumper boo boo of our mystery company. Finally, with a social media game plan of what and where for your campaigns, make sure to get the why portion of context lined up too.
Context: give it to me straight
The other problem with bumper call-to-action was that not only did I have no idea who I was suppose to like but I had no idea why.
The final piece to context in your social media strategy is to let your prospects and customers know what they’ll get when they like or follow a social platform. Now that you have the matrix, you can be very specific. “Follow MyRockinBusiness on twitter for the latest from our blog and other tips about cool things we know you like because we’re awesome like that” OR “follow us on instagram to see us around the community and share your MyCity photos with the hashtag #ThisCityRocks
Bring it together, they will follow
With context as your glue, prospects and customers will follow and are more likely to engage. Think about it. Are you more or less likely to engage with a profile that’s telling you exactly what you’re going to get when you engage with their social media profiles?
Practice makes perfect!
Follow Ryan Ruud on twitter where I’ll share all sorts of good stuff on business, digital marketing and PR, technology and food and travel finds as well as occasional things that tickle my fancy.
Or Circle Ryan Ruud on G+ where it’s a little more focused on business, technology and the occasional photo.
Finally, you can find Ryan Ruud on LinkedIn which is really boring, just kidding, but it’s definitely more suit and tie and work and business.