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Stop Telling Me to Think Like a Publisher – Atlanta Social Shake-up

With content being at the core of many companies’ social media strategies, crafting the best possible product is often a challenge for marketers. Since it creates a long-lasting, emotional connection with customers, content was previously outsourced to agencies that specialized in this field, but now businesses are increasingly moving part of this production in-house.

This topic was explored by a panel at the Social Shake-Up conference, as industry experts weighed in on their experiences with content production – both positive and negative.

Speakers on the panel included Johan Koning, a Marketing Manager for Intel, his colleague Sabrina Stoffregen, Director of Intel Ambassadors and a Marketing Manager for the company, and Teresa Caro, a Senior VP of Social and Content Marketing for Engauge. These experts were moderated by famed journalist and author Tom Teicholz.

Given the changing nature of the industry, the panel looked to explore how companies and advertising agencies are going to move forward given the changing demands of the contemporary social enterprise. The Pros and Cons of writing internal content and outsourcing this work were also discussed.

Tom began the discussion by examining the basics of content: The challenge is always how you can communicate, generate creative posts while also best representing the brand.

Owning an area
Creating content that is both edgy and pertinent to potential customers is huge, but there is more to it than that, according to Teresa Caro.

“How can you own an area in the mind of the consumer – this is about being passionate about the subject matter,” she said. “It’s about moving from functional relevance to cultural relevance. Your hub (where the posts exist on the internet) needs to be something that you truly own. Build a hub, make it social.”

She then highlighted how businesses need to create a content ecosystem. This is often a challenge for companies, as many organizations are extremely fragmented. Regardless, the content needs to be pulled together into one story.

After it is pulled together into one story, it needs to be distributed via social media channels – an effective story will be able to show up in different ways on multiple channels. These exceptional pieces will bring tremendous value to the site, while creating a ROI that is easy to demonstrate to the decision makers at the organization.

Johan noted that roughly 8 in 10 companies are thinking about doing some type of branded content, highlighting the significance of the online space for all businesses.

Journalistic and promotional
Sabrina spoke to the two types of content that are dominating the space – journalistic and promotional. Both are extremely useful in certain situations, but within her organization the team is changing gears.

“Within Intel, we are moving from a model of controlling the message, to one where people provide their own stories within the given space,” said the marketing manager.

Tom reiterated this point, adding that each company and specific brands have a lot of stories that they can tell – powerful messages for both customers and employees. Not only that, consumers have a story to tell. Tapping into this segment may be the most effective type of content.

Johan spoke to this point, adding that success can be achieved through the use of “risky” campaigns. At Intel, they looked to tap into the customer experience while also promoting video content that was longer than what the industry considered acceptable. By seeing the significant number of views, likes and comments for this content, they were able to deem this venture was successful.

Measuring success
Sabrina spoke to the need for companies to create brand loyalists, both internally and externally. There is also the issue of selling executives on the campaigns, as they are the ones in charge of the purse strings.

Part of the difficulty associated with selling executives on content campaigns is convincing these C-suite members that the company actually sees some type of benefit from the medium.

“One of the big things that we find when looking at social, is there is a disconnect between social objectives and business objectives,” said Teresa. “Success is often undefined – you need to define this in order to set benchmarks, and measure whether it is successful or not.”

This often depends on the type of organization, both in terms of the “social maturity” of the company and the size of the budget they have to use on the campaigns.

“It’s easiest when the CEO says – let’s take some risks, let’s see where this goes,” said Johan. “Branded content pieces are sometimes forgotten and under-promoted if they aren’t accepted by the organization.”

Content connects with people – be it an executive or a single consumer – in different ways. It is hard to create posts and videos that are relevant to everyone. However, content is how people connect with brands, so there needs to be a significant push to reach this goal, while keeping executives informed as to the potential successes of these campaigns.