I gave a presentation at the spring CPA meeting entitled "Designing the Optimal Digital and Social Media Strategy to Capture the Intended Audience." Since then I have received many requests for copies of the presentation, which is available at the end of these talking points.
These talking points will help to clarify the information presented on the slides:
Following the opening video is a diagram that presents what is sometimes called "the honeycomb of social media" which addresses both the functionality and the implications of engaging in social media.
I would like to point out that an optimal social media strategy, like most well-designed systems, simplifies communication. It is not necessary to participate in every channel, though Surface & Panel, as a publication, has a pretty comprehensive system. Each entity is encouraged to take a reductive approach to find the best fit for its needs.
The presentation introduces three main concepts for optimal social media strategy, which are elaborated on here.
1. ID the audience and the best channels to reach them. There are many ways to do this including google alerts for relevant terms, searching for customers on different channels, and seeing where the competition is spending time.
Please note in the presentation I used the "Word Press" logo to represent blogs in general. Word Press has a very easy interface. A person that can word process, can use Word Press, but there are many great blogging platforms out there.
If a company is going to make any effort in the B to C realm, I strongly recommend paying particular attention to Google + and YouTube. Google is the largest search engine, and YouTube, which is owned by Google is the second most popular search engine. A little more about Google later.
2. It cannot be overstated how important quality content is. It does not have to be a huge body of work, a couple of hundred words that demonstrate knowledge, provide technical tips, or share a point of view on something relevant to the industry can get the job done. People do business with people (or brands) they know, like and trust. This is why blogs are such an important channel.
3. After the slide about leveraging content, I walked the audience through the systems we at Surface & Panel use to reach both the B -to-B and B-to-C audiences that represent the targets of our editorial product and advertisers' needs. I used the ICFF event as an example. Here is a basic overview of a workflow. Remember though, I am in publishing, not manufacturing. I represent many interests in the industry, so my workflow is more complex than is necessary for most operations.
- Posting the ICFF event on the events page (B-to-B and B-to-C)
- Corresponding posts before, during and after the event on the Surface & Panel LinkedIn (B-to-B)
- ICFF news from Interprint (B-to-B and B-to-C)
-Article that is ICFF trend report on Surface & Panel
(B-to-B and B-to-C)
-Post on Materialicious, our in-house design blog that has over 750,000 visitors a month. We use this to drive traffic back to the unique ICFF content (B-to-C)
- Posts on Pinterest that drives to Materialicious, and then to the original content (B-to-C)
If you have a moment, you can trace the B-to-C from Pinterest, through Materialicious, back to the original content. This is also possible from Facebook, Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn or YouTube.
We apply this sort of strategy to all Surface & Panel content, from the galleries created out of the Surface Design Guide, to articles and news (when applicable).
Back to the slides….
I have identified two MAJOR trends that are shaping communications and should be kept in mind with any strategy.
Pretty much every person in the room, about 80 individuals, had a smart phone. The picture of the kid is my 7-year-old son Harrison. I was recently on a field trip with his first grade class and all 26 kids on the bus had their own iPad. I took the picture of him making a movie on his iPad with my iPhone. Don't be fooled. We don't live in some high-tech urban center. We live at the ends of the earth on Lake Superior, as the next slide shows.
Yet, my working world is much broader. One of the BIG changes in digital marketing is that soon everything will be optimized for mobile. Already we get our e-mails, newsletters etc. on the go. And by the time Harrison is 17 he will laugh at my big computer and scoff at Facebook, calling it his mom's "old technology," the cute little snot.
2. The Panda that killed SEO
Panda is the latest of Google's on-going and very effective efforts to weed out all the fluffy, meaningless content that was written for SEO (search engine optimization). This is content that is jam packed with keywords and back links. It is not designed for quality (you can read "designed for quality" as "written to build relationships and trust with unique, meaningful content"). Google hates content that is created to manipulate search results, and readers do to.
The new algorithm, combined with Google's incredibly integrated systems that allow users to create, rate and interact with content (via Google+ and YouTube, the top 2 search engines) returns search results based on user behavior, not contrived SEO.
YOU can do this. The audience for this presentation was comprised of some of the most intelligent people I know. These are people who routinely engineer complex manufacturing lines, work cells and distribution systems. In terms of external communication, an optimized social media and digital marketing strategy can deliver relevant, up to the minute information efficiently to customers, but also to internal management, distribution, customer service and sales teams. Equally important is that such a strategy delivers valuable customer feedback, questions and trend information back to you.
When the floor was opened for questions, one of the first was, "What if someone says something negative about my company on social media?" And the answer is, "Then you better be there to respond." Social sharing is happening whether or not you participate in it. Digital marketing is quickly becoming the organic result of consumer searches and interest, if you have nothing for customers to find, you will never be found.
Thank you for taking time to watch the presentation, and to read the notes. Also, thank you to the CPA for giving me the opportunity to present. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to answer. I cannot claim to be an expert on the subject, but I can share with you our strategy to maximize the reach of the unique editorial content create for the Surface & Panel artisan print publication and website.
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