Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Moving beyond Good Morning - Importance of an Online Content Strategy

The first phase of social media marketing was dominated by the race for numbers - A greater fan base meant success. To be fair the metric was an easy way of determining success of social media marketing. The only problem was that it did not factor in existing equity of brands. As a result strong brands quickly reached million follower count. This was more a result of the effort given in by previous brand managers. Social media marketers simply harnessed this existing equity.

Another problem was of saturation.The percentage growth of fans had declined to an almost constant level. To prove their worth and drive revenue, social media marketers and media owners such as Facebook tried to attract brands by luring them to the concept of engagement. It seemed like a logical extension.

Irina back in 2010 at adage reported that companies have spent millions gathering fans on their Facebook pages and being "liked" all across the web. But what started as a volume play -- call it Facebook marketing 1.0 -- is shifting. Increasingly, it's not so much how many people are liking your brand, but who those people are and how many are engaging with you once you've got them.

 The discussion around social media marketing then shifted from obese numbers to a more fit metric - Engagement. Here brands resorted to content like "Good Morning", "Merry Christmas" and other trivia to engage their so called fans. While this form of engagement did garner a lot of likes, the comments section proved that the engagement was not of much use. It was not real!

In my personal research experience on Facebook pages, I have seen that in most cases discussions are on a completely different tangent. The only solace for social media marketers was the number of likes. Engagement soon became a number and brands were chasing it.

I conducted a personal study on top 900 Facebook pages to find that maximum amount of engagement was around 11% on a page dedicated to Jesus. Major brands had an engagement level of around 3-4% at a maximum.

This trend still continues and it indicates a major gap in the online content strategy. What should it be like? For starters let us look at the current major branding paradigm - Brand relationships. Social media has provided a medium to engage in conversations and build relationships. These ultimately build a culture around the brand. It is similar to the way relationships in group determine its culture and norms. An online content strategy has to be focused on the brand personality and brand culture. Anything apart form this should be resisted.

Agree with this? Join this discussion and give your feedback below.