In 2002, it was standard operating procedure
In 2007, it was cute.
Now, in 2012, it’s somewhat absurd.
Yet somehow, in the present day, there are still all sorts of companies – big and small – that simply cannot grasp why they would ever create web content that was explicitly geared towards selling something.
From blog posts promoting the latest product line to Facebook updates with lead-generation calls to action to a Twitter stream filled with nothing but coupons, call-outs, and daily specials it seems like there is still a very strong contingent of marketers that are unable to break away from the traditional broadcast, interruption marketing model. And when a business applies this approach to social media channels everyone loses.
Mind you, I’m convinced that in many cases – especially at the mid-tier to enterprise level – this adherence promotional content creation is the result of a marketers that are unable to convince their superiors that there is indeed a different, better way. If you’re stuck in this predicament, here are a few recommendations that might help you break through to your internal stakeholders and subsequently break away from promotional social posts:
- Sell it - Don’t just tell people that they should be building non-promotional social content (e.g. stuff people actually want to read and share as opposed to stuff that’s explicitly selling something). Put together a formal plan. Build out a good-looking Powerpoint presentation. Show the math (e.g. the ROI potential). And perhaps most importantly, learn how to tell your story in compelling way.
- Get buy-in from parallel stakeholders – If you talk to enough people within your organization, you might just find that there are hidden advocates that are ready and willing to back you up and vouch for the effectiveness of modern content marketing strategies. It could be the PR team, or maybe the copywriting/creative team, or maybe even a heady stakeholder in the finance division that’s into digital trends. The point is that you need to talk to folks and tell your story so that you can build up a groundswell that your superiors will find difficult to ignore or reject.
- Find a reputable third-party that can help advocate - There are a lot of very well-respected agencies out there that have the necessary industry accolades and case studies to help you sell your story internally. Find them and bring them in to help pitch the idea. Sometimes, an executive stakeholder requires external validation before he/she before giving the green light.
- Use SEO as the roadway to measurable ROI – social media content initiatives rarely drive direct response, so it’s hard to justify them in terms of lead-gen, e-commerce revenue, etc. However, if you can lucidly explain the clear link between social media content efforts and incremental SEO revenue, it will become that much easier to get the internal buy-in you need to change the content paradigm.
And lastly, be tenacious. Don’t give up on your efforts to usher in this paradigm shift. It could take months, maybe even years, but the long-term ROI is well-worth the sustained effort.