Maybe it’s the old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword. Or a picture being worth a thousand words. Or the fact I’ve always had a passion for writing - everything from poetry to short stories, technical documentation, and blogs of course. Not sure what it is but the more time I spend doing social media, the more I realize that in the end, it’s really all about connecting people to content.
I know there isn’t much of a scoop here. A simple glance at Coke, Red Bull, or Nike, to name a few, suffices to convince anyone that for many major brands content has, in fact, become strategy. Everything else is second place. I’m pretty comfortable with that. Zen.
And we’ve taken a pretty significant tack towards content as strategy in 2013 at Autodesk on my team. Somewhat early on, I realized there were some thing that weren’t working for us. But I wasn’t sure. I saw effect but not cause. So I did the only thing I knew would work: stop assuming, and start asking customers!
My guys went out and talked with our most fervent supporters (and detractors). We asked them point blank: what are we doing right? What are we screwing up? And to my great joy, they all answered! Some more brutally than others but to me, brutal honesty is pure gold. So I knew we were on to something. Every content strategy change we implemented was based on these conversations.
The feedback was inherently simple: your support content is too shallow. It’s not different enough from other Autodesk content. We want to participate a lot more and hear from our peers. But we do love your human side content (because that, in turn, is quite unique and different).
So we re-designed our content strategy to address each of these points. We deepened support content quality and frequency. Modeling this feature on a news network “stream” rather than periodic static content. We “absorbed” responsibility for promoting product knowledge content - so people can find tutorials, training, and how-to material to get up to speed with our products as efficiently as possible.
We kicked off a curation program on Google+ and Scoop.it. Including a feature dedicated to 3D printing - one of the most significant industry evolutions in recent history. We added a weekly community content (UGC) best-of venue (in concert with our new Expert Elite advocacy program). And we amplified our human side features to fold advocates, support crews, and product managers into our customer digital events and Hangouts.
Although feedback’s been positive, it’s still too early to gauge the effect these changes had on customer satisfaction with cold hard numbers. In a short while we’ll go out to our public again and ask the same question: how are we doing? And if customers sign off on our progress, then we’ll keep moving in the right direction. Otherwise, we’ll keep changing and improving as needed until we get it right for our audience.
This, to me, is the best content strategy anyone can have. Never assume. Shut up. Listen to your audience. Do what they tell you. Make them happy. In the end, they’re the ones driving. We’re only along to make sure the ride is pleasant, comfortable, and memorable.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found it hard to keep track of who’s who in the social media strategy space. Even tougher is figuring out who’s saying what where and when in real time. This frustration (and crappy weather on this Sunday) compelled me to Tumbl a new blog of social “blurbs” based on a list of social media industry Who’s Who.
How did I compile this cream-of-the-crop list you might ask? Well first from experience, second from Marshall Kirkpatrick’s social strategists Twitter list. And third from a series of videos Sprinklr did recently. Now I need to merge in Jeremiah’s list as well - I think he’s compiled a pretty large one.
And if you find this list incomplete - as I’m sure it is - please give me a holler with the missing information.
I call this project social media #cream. Why? Because it’s supposed to track and curate interesting tidbits from the “cream of the crop” in current social media strategy brain power. It’s searchable too.
And I’m also linking some of these posts to my Pinterest board. Because I like visual stuff - it’s how I roll :)
Let me know if you find this helpful at all - would love some feedback!