Last week I attended the Social Media Strategies Summit in New York. While it was a bit humid in the city, it was good to be back in the Big Apple! Hosted by the Global Strategic Management Institute, the two day event was full of forward-thinking and innovative speakers presenting best practices and case studies on using social media to build brands and reputations. From NBC Sports to MasterCard to GE, the presentations highlighted the impact social media has on achieving business awareness and objectives.
My two overarching takeaways:
1. Social media is a tool to accomplish your business objectives, it is not the objective.
Corey Padveen of t2Marketing x International posed the question, “Do you ask a carpenter the ROI on his hammer?” Rather than assessing the tools a carpenter uses, we are more focused on the final project. It is important to remember that social media is a tool for marketers, just as a hammer is a tool for carpenters, and supports the greater business goal(s). While vanity metrics, such as number of fans, allow us to track performance on social channels, this should not define social success. In social media, brands now have a tool that offers a two-way, real-time conversation with customers and other stakeholders. While this tool can be measured and KPIs can be set, let’s be sure we are looking at the bigger picture, not how many retweets we generate.
2. “Content is king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants.”- Jonathan Perelman of BuzzFeed.
Ryan Smith, COO of Raidious, reminded us that while content is still king, the King needs to be heard. If existing audiences and new fans are not seeing content, what is its value? Distribution obviously is key to reaching target customers. While paid supports distribution, owned channels, email marketing, and influencers all can – and should – be part of the distribution strategy. Ryan also noted that all content should have a point and either entertain, inspire, educate or inform. Content that gains traction checks one or more of these boxes.
Riana Zimmerman of Magnolia Bakery shared how Magnolia uses their social channels to reward their audience by providing content that accomplishes these four objectives: Custom content allows the NYC-based bakery to entertain through beautiful cupcake photography; to educate and inspire through stop-motion how-to videos; and to inform by highlighting new products and flavors.
All brands and businesses have unique opportunities to create remarkable content, and when doing so, it is important to remember that the content strategy informs the distribution strategy and vice versa. Knowing the content will help determine where you will share it, just as knowing your distribution channels will help guide the creative process. While the King receives the spotlight, the Queen always provides guidance and support.