In this episode, Thibaud Clement, CEO of Loomly shares how to fuel growth with a social media marketing content strategy. Insights he shares include:
Some topics we discussed include:
- Why Thibaud chats to at least 100 customers a day.
- How to make sense of all the information and requests customers send your way
- Why Thibaud launched Loomly despite the intense competition in the social media marketing space.
- What makes for a successful social media marketing team
- Why original content is the only way forward for a social media marketing content strategy
- How to identify the types of content that will produce a positive ROI
- How highly regulated industries can best make use of social media marketing content without harming their brand.
- Why responsiveness cannot be ignored in your social media marketing content strategy
- How to enter and scale advertising on social media?
- Loomly’s north star metric?
- How Loomly deals with churn
- How to determine whether you should invest in customizing content for client acquisition
- Some topics we discussed include:
- Why is a social media marketing content strategy important?
- Why is it important to design your content right for social media?
- Why craft a social media marketing content strategy?
- How to solve recurring social media content marketing issues?
- What makes for a successful social media marketing team?
- How to craft a social media content strategy?
- Why original content is the only way forward for a social media marketing content strategy
- Producing original content is time-consuming, but are there simpler ways to produce it?
- How to identify the types of content that will produce a positive ROI
- Collaborate to build a social media marketing content calendar/editorial calendar
- Distribute and promote your content
- Measure results
- How highly regulated industries can best make use of social media marketing content without harming their brand
- Why responsiveness cannot be ignored in your social media marketing content strategy
- Fueling growth with a social media marketing content strategy
- Links and Resources mentioned
- Connect with Thibaud
- Subscribe to and Review the Predictable B2B Success Podcast
Why is a social media marketing content strategy important?
The popularity of social networks has meant that businesses wanting to engage their audiences on these platforms now must contend with multiple content formats and interactive content formats like carousel ads on Facebook.
If people are the engine of social media, then the content is fuel. Your content is what your audience sees and responds to, and that can communicate your message and values.
Consider the following questions:
- What content works best on a specific platform?
- How do you plan what to talk about, on which platforms, and in what formats?
Simply producing and sharing of content does not guarantee success. Smart businesses and marketers understand the need to align their social media marketing content strategy with all their social media channels. Why? To ensure their communication:
- Is being driven by a plan rather than a mad scramble to find something to share
- Style is consistent
Why is it important to design your content right for social media?
Most people use social media for personal reasons and to connect with friends, family, or to be part of conversations that are of interest to them or a passion. Content that does not serve this purpose can turn your target audience off or be overwhelming. To avoid such scenarios, you need to take the time to learn what people want to read/watch, and make it digestible via the formats and channels they find most useful.
Why craft a social media marketing content strategy?
Starting with a communication plan that aligns with your business goals is essential if your messaging is to influence your business and provide an ROI. This is not social-specific. Your plan should govern how you communicate with customers and future customers across all channels.
Your social media marketing content strategy can then be based on the communication plan and adapted to suit specific channels. For example, you may have a campaign launching a new detailed guide, and social media is used to seed snippets from the guide over X weeks with a hook to download the full content. The overarching plan guides what is discussed and when, and then the social media plan decides how to tell the story to a social audience based on content format, style, and execution.
Questions that help you create a social media marketing content strategy include the following:
- What are we trying to achieve on social media, and how does this align with core business goals/objectives/targets?
- What stories do we want to tell, and how can we make them relevant to our social audience?
- What is our social customer profile and what types of content do they respond best to?
- What is the current state of the market – how do competitors and comparators perform socially, and what content works for them?
- Who needs to be involved in content production and marketing?
- How will we measure the success of social content?
- How will we optimize and improve what we are doing?
As you start to answer these questions, you draw up your social content plan based on audience needs and market context
This process should not be overly complicated; it needs to provide simple guidelines to help focus social marketers on what/why/when of content marketing. The content strategy need not be complex, but without a content strategy and editorial calendar, it will be much harder to gain engagement and momentum around brand awareness with your audiences. Having a content strategy in place that answers the Why, What, Who, and How you will be in a position that makes you more adaptable and proactive with your content.
How to solve recurring social media content marketing issues?
Most tools are good at scheduling the content you have already created. This works well in cases where you have 30 or so LinkedIn or Facebook posts lined up. These can be dropped into one of the social media post scheduling services, and these will go out automatically on the assigned dates and times.
The challenge for agencies and larger organizations is with everything that needs to happen:
- Before you schedule posts
- After you schedule posts
In other words, the issues that pose a challenge are:
- How do you develop 10 or 50 content ideas for your communication to tell your story online at the beginning of the month?
- How do you consolidate all your ideas and assets in one place?
- How do you improve the way you are creating your posts?
- How do you gain approvals from other people, whether in-house or external to your business in a way that minimizes delays and unnecessary back and forth discussions?
Even today, all these processes are handled through spreadsheets in some organizations or through multiple tools. Invariably the process looks something like this –
- Take an Excel spreadsheet; put the list of posts inside it
- You try to send it and share it with everyone. In the best-case scenario, you are using Google Sheets, so you have a layer of collaboration, but none of this is designed for that specific use case.
Thibaud attempted to solve the issue by creating a simple tool (which grew into what Loomly is today) that covered this process. They were able to upload content, preview it, generate some mockups, and then get approval from everyone.
Based on feedback since those early days, Loomly has grown in its feature set to perform other functions including:
- Publishing content that has received approvals
- Asset management
- Moderating comments
- Consolidating analytics from various platforms for organic posts and paid advertising
Loomly has blog content and other forms of content on its product roadmap because they noticed two things.
- Most of the users who use social media and social media advertising also use other forms of content.
- The actual workflow and processes can be replicated for other forms of content, as well.
What makes for a successful social media marketing team?
A successful social media marketing team is no longer the domain of a single individual. Successful social media marketing teams can now encompass several team members and other teams as well, depending on what the business objectives are and what messaging needs to go out. In light of this, there are a few key aspects to a successful social media marketing content strategy:
Collaboration in teams is what makes such organizations derive more value. In such organizations, you could have one person who may be creating the content and another reviewing it, and then when the content is published, and you could have a third person reporting on how the content performs.
2. Catering to cross-functional teams
Loomly has also seen an increasing trend of cross-functional teams getting involved with social media marketing content strategies. In such instances, it is not only the marketing teams that are in charge of content, but other teams are being involved.
For example, the sales team could be involved, you could solicit some feedback from the field, or you could involve the product team to generate some interesting facts about the product itself. That way, you could share other less well-known features. In other cases, like in regulated industries or large corporations that are publicly traded companies, there is a huge need for brand compliance. In those cases, then, you could have the HR department or the legal department involved to ensure that anything that goes out has been approved internally and is compliant with the company protocols, thereby avoiding issues that Tesla experienced in 2018.
3. Facilitate the sharing of stories
Having a conversation on social media as a brand is all about telling your story and sharing things that resonate with your audience. When you start involving different persons inside a company into the marketing process, then you start to have different perspectives. For instance, if you involve sales, you will be able to include feedback that you would not have had as a marketing team.
One of the things that Loomly does is that, whenever their success team speaks with their customers, and there is some interesting feedback, they convert that feedback into a post so that they can share some of the love that they receive. This is something that would not be possible if it was just one team working on marketing without taking into account the information and experiences that other teams possess. Content that incorporates the views of other teams and their stories generally tends to drive higher engagement because it gives a broader picture of the company and not just a product-focused or sales-focused perspective.
How to craft a social media content strategy?
The first step towards a long-term social media marketing content strategy is to set your content goals. You should know how your content marketing strategy could fulfill your overall business marketing goals. Keep in mind that your goals will determine the kinds of content you need to publish.
The chart below the goals of paid social media campaigns from marketers who took part in a Social Media Today survey.
For example, let’s say that your marketing goals are to convert more sales from social media. Then your strategy should incorporate posts that move specific audience segments to specific landing pages tailored to their interests or some other part of your marketing funnel. This process initially will involve research and getting to know your audience, listening to their conversations on specific platforms as well as knowing your brand values.
Identify the best platforms for your business
There is no point in attempting to have and maintain a presence on all platforms, as it would mean stretching yourself too thin. Choosing the best social media platforms to focus on can seem overwhelming, given the many factors to consider.
Some factors to consider when choosing the best platforms can be viewed in the image below from Accion:
When choosing the best platform, be sure to:
- Identify the social sites where your target audience spends their time
- Use Google Analytics to determine the demographics of your targeted audience and the platforms where they are most engaged
You need to research keywords because the chances are that your competitors are using certain keywords that are helping them increase traction. You need to research what types of keywords they are using across their channels to increase engagement and sales. This article can help with your research. Once you have answers to those questions, you can invest your time on those platforms.
Plan your social content
A coherent editorial calendar is crucial because it will help you map out, outline your projects, and maintain consistency. To maintain consistency, your editorial calendar should consist of content creation and content curation strategy, which will enable you to create and curate epic social media content consistently for each social channel.
It will also make it possible for you to map out the frequency of your posts. Thus, when creating your content calendar, concentrate on the following areas:
- How frequently will I be posting to each social site?
- At what times will I be sharing content for maximum engagement?
- What types of content will resonate with my target audience?
- What topics will my readers love to engage with, etc.?
After you have successfully created and or curated your content, use automation or social media management tools to schedule your posts across channels. Also, ensure that you have put analytics in place to monitor the metrics you have to measure and the results you intend to generate.
Chat to your customers: Why Thibaud chats to at least 100 customers a day
In the early days of Loomly, Thibaud and a developer were building out the product. As they kept growing, they were also asking themselves the question of how they can scale the process so that the product team would generate direct feedback from customers. This need got Thibaud chatting to at least 100 customers a day on different channels. Every time they receive a bug report, a feature request, general comment, or idea, they update their product roadmap accordingly. Such chats also serve to feed your content strategy while making it relevant and valuable to your audience.
Why original content is the only way forward for a social media marketing content strategy
Thibaud and his business partner Noemie, who is also his wife, have been working in digital marketing for the last ten years and have noticed a pattern replicating from search engines to social media. Social networking sites first needed content. They then reached a point where the challenge was no longer to find content but to prioritize it. For example, in the early days on Facebook, you could publish something, and you would have a great organic reach.
Since then, everyone has seen that kind of organic reach decrease. Now because the platforms are not able to show all the content to all users, they must prioritize it for engagement. What we see now is that the platforms prioritize original organic content. Twitter, for example, now suspends accounts that publish either the same tweet multiple times on the same account or different accounts. If you go to Facebook and look at the publisher’s guidelines, they say our audience wants authentic content. Again, from 10 years ago, with search engines and looking at where we are now, there is this clear trend of how original content is being promoted and prioritized on these platforms.
Original content is the way forward. To address this, you should not seek to automate content creation. To Thibaud, the real issue is more about finding ways to streamline the process to develop original content.
Producing original content is time-consuming, but are there simpler ways to produce it?
Prior to founding Loomly, in running their agency, Thibaud and his team were helping clients create content for famous brands like L’Oréal, the cosmetic company. To hasten the process, they wanted to hasten the process of generating ideas, so they did not have to start from scratch every time. The answer to that came in the form of Loomly, which also addresses other pain points they experienced like:
- Managing all your assets in one place so that you do not have to look for your images and videos
- Providing you tips to improve your posts
- Being able to schedule posts on multiple accounts
- Being able to manage all the comments in one place
As part of the product evolution, they will be implementing more ways that Loomly improves the process of creating original content for you in a cost-efficient way and in a way that will prove the value of the content.
How to identify the types of content that will produce a positive ROI
To identify the types of content that will produce a positive ROI, Thibaud recommends using a combination of approaches, which could include:
- Examining your analytics for indicators of the past performance of your content. In other words, look for data that will indicate the type of results you want to see from your content
- Looking at your competitors and what content they are doing well for inspiration
- Soliciting ideas from completely different industries. Although you may be in the B2B SaaS space, you could find inspiration in the B2C space
Collaborate to build a social media marketing content calendar/editorial calendar
Once you have a clear social media marketing content strategy, you need to conduct an audit. The audit will help you discover which posts performed well, which ones did not, and on which platforms. You could use Loomly or other tools to acquire the insights you are looking for. However, you do not necessarily need a tool to analyze your data. You could instead export the post and page analytics from each platform into a spreadsheet.
The information you obtain from your audit should align with your content goals. For example, if one of the goals is to improve brand awareness, then look for which posts resulted in new followers because those are the types of posts that will help expose your brand to future customers.
At times you may notice a disconnect between posts you think should do well and the ones that do. If so look at the specific posts. Note the tone and voice you use in the posts you thought should do well but do not. Also, determine whether those posts are relevant to your audience. After all, irrelevant posts are the second largest reason consumers unfollow brands on social media.
Distribute and promote your content
Creating content is only a small part of your social media content strategy. It should go way beyond what you post on your social channels. A good content strategy should also involve ways to distribute your content actively so that as many individuals as possible see it, thereby increasing your reach.
A few other things you could do to increase engagement include:
- Encouraging your audience to engage with your content by asking a question or to share their answers on social media or in the blog post comments
- When they do respond and or repost their answers
- Network with bloggers and content creators in your niche; other brands are more likely to share your content with their audience if you have a relationship and will return the favor
- Discover the best time to post when most of your audience is online and engaging with content
- Using appropriate hashtags on certain platforms can also extend your reach
- Join groups related to your niche
To ensure your social media marketing content strategy is working, you need to measure the results of your efforts. This approach will ensure that your strategy is working for the long term and allows for adjustments during the course. As you did with the content audit, ensure you relate the analytics to your overall marketing goals.
Use your goals to act as a compass to help you accurately adjust your strategy. You can monitor the analytics each month. That way, you will need to make small tweaks to optimize your social media content strategy. A few important metrics to measure includes:
- Awareness – The number of times people saw your content as told by impressions and reach
- Engagements – The number of reactions, comments, clicks, and shares your content gets
- ROI – Conversions and referrals from external sources
Other considerations to keep in mind are that you should:
- Take a top-level view of your content over some time when analyzing your results/data
- Look at how each piece of content performed and what variables it had working with it
- Assess how well the content contributed to the overall content goals that you set
How highly regulated industries can best make use of social media marketing content without harming their brand
In regulated industries where social media has not always been part of the equation, it is harder to make use of social media marketing content. It is not as easy as traditional PR, where you could talk to a reporter and say this is on the record, and this is off the record. With social media, things are a lot murkier with personal accounts and brand accounts, and not necessarily being able to manage all the published content.
What is needed in such instances is brand compliance, where content can be submitted for vetting or approval and allow for collaboration. Thibaud says a French client of Loomly, which is a publicly-traded company, has each post created by their social media manager. Each post is then approved by not only the CMO but also the CFO.
He says there is not a clear answer to the issue as the needs are industry-specific, but it does not hurt to involve more people in the loop to ensure you have the green light to publish something that meets brand guidelines. A tool like Loomly can help with implementing this sort of collaborative process and placing safeguards around your social media publishing process while removing delays in sharing information.
How to avoid the danger of paralysis by analysis when collaborating and seeking approvals
Thibaud says yes, that is a possibility, especially when starting. As in going from one person creating and publishing content to involving more people and gaining approval from multiple parties before content gets published. These can be eliminated or reduced considerably with time and learning from experiences. However, there is an upside for the person who creates the content.
Say that you are responsible for developing content ideas and creating them. Once you have the approval of someone else to publish your post, you are protecting your job. Because you can say yes, I suggested this idea, but other people in the company have approved it.
There are there have been countless examples where a social media manager with all the good intentions in the world published something that turned out to be bad buzz and puts his or her job at risk. Once you improve this kind of process, maybe some of your ideas do not make it out, which is a probability. However, what does go out will be safer, even for you, so that is worth looking at, and there is a good upside to that process.
Why responsiveness cannot be ignored in your social media marketing content strategy
Thibaud says that trends are showing that there are rising expectations of consumers in the B2C and B2B space. People want to find out about the company; they want to contact others and expect a response when they reach out or inquire. Not all companies can afford to provide 24/7 support. There are, however, a couple of things you can do, including:
- Setting up notifications to send every time someone is reaching out
- Noting that even if you do not reply immediately, you can just let them know that you are going to reconnect with them within a set time frame, say, 6 hours, 24 hours, 2 business days—it does not matter
- Remembering that it is all about setting expectations. Once you set the expectation, you need to keep your promise. I would say this is what I would recommend being as clear as you can as transparent as you can and keep your promises
Between one minute and seven days, there is a reasonable amount of time in which you can expect to get back to a customer or prospect. This timeframe matters because it shows that the company cares about your business and that they are willing to help you. Strategically, I reduce the chances of someone going and shopping elsewhere.
Another area for which it can make a big difference is customer service. Let us say you have a current customer or user, whether they are paying for your service or not, and they reach out to you, and they have an issue. Thibaud says that they have seen is that if you can reply within minutes while the level of satisfaction regardless of the problem is usually amplified with short response time and then decays relatively quickly.
If you reply within one minute, usually, people will be amazed. Even if you reply within 15 minutes, you will still have a good impact. One hour is expected. If it takes a day to respond, then people might be ok with it. However, beyond that point, it just becomes poor customer service. Thus, providing responsive customer service has a huge impact on customer satisfaction and retention.
Fueling growth with a social media marketing content strategy
There are many ways to develop a social media marketing content strategy to grow your business. However, with billions of social media users, you have lots of challenges and competitors in the marketplace. However, with a sustainable social media-marketing plan—a framework for your business—you can easily stand out from the noise and grow your business. Which steps have you used to develop your social media marketing content plan?
Links and Resources mentioned
- Check out Loomly
Connect with Thibaud
- Connect with Thibaud on LinkedIn