For the uninitiated social media user, Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is a great start to understanding the differences among the many social media platforms.
And unless you’re Trader Joes, you need to have a voice on social media (Trader Joes has a cult following on social media where diehards are tweeting and instagramming about the American grocery store’s unique products on the regular – but the grocery chain doesn’t use social media platforms.)
This book is a great resource for both small businesses and multinational corporations alike.
Vaynerchuk breaks the book down into different social media channels. Facebook, for example has its own section. As does Twitter, Instagram and the rest. Here are three social media platforms the book talks about.
There are more than 1.3 billion active users on Facebook. “The majority of brands and business still haven’t realized the unprecedented insight Facebook gives us into people’s lives and psychology, insight that allows marketers to optimize every jab, every piece of micro-content, and every right hook,” Vaynerchuk says.
He uses the boxing lingo to describe what marketers should be doing on the massive social media channel. The ‘jab’ (times three) is about creating content that users want and find entertaining. Most Facebook users log on to socialize, connect and catch up with those in their network.
Creating content for Facebook should take this into consideration. Vaynerchuk also points out that companies need to use their logo on any photo they put out onto Facebook. Otherwise, how would a customer know what brand you’re representing as they scroll down their Facebook feed at lightning speed?
Vaynerchuk adds that text should be short and witty. Avoid multiple call to actions on one post. In posts that are just ‘jabs’, you don’t want a call to action. It’s all about catering to the needs of the customers, not about selling them something. And while you’re at it, make sure the photos you post are high quality.
I love Twitter.
Twitter is the one platform where customers engaging with brands is the norm. You tweet with the intention of getting others to retweet you or start a conversation with you. In turn, you’re creating a dialogue with your customers on a grassroots level.
It’s important for companies, large and small, to sound authentic on Twitter. Be true to your voice. No one wants to read tweets that sound like they’re repurposed by a robot.
Twitter is also where hashtags matter. Top trends are great hashtags for companies to use. Ride the hashtags but do it playfully and consider context (If #heatwave is a top trend and you’re in the business of ice cream, ride the trend!)
Instagram is an important platform to tell your story visually. And for that reason, Vaynerchuk emphasizes quality of content. “No one is going to Instagram to see advertisements and stock photos.”
One of the challenges multinationals face is making their content authentic. Corporations usually sound stuffy, technical and fake with their brand message getting bogged down by layers of internal bureaucracy. It’s important to make Instagram content artistic and creative, which is the native language of Instagram, Vaynerchuk says. It’s also a platform that skews to a younger demographic. Make sure your content caters to them through photos. And use hashtags, which help spread your message on the platform.
Multinationals are a sea of silos.
At first glance, that’s what I see as I transition from the world of newsrooms to the corporate world. Newsrooms are vast open spaces where you can see your colleague chowing down on that kale salad several meters away.
Cubicles are king in corporations. Walls everywhere. Departments like marketing and sales aren’t even on the same floor in some cases.
It’s no wonder these two units look at each other with a sense of disagreement. Sales views marketing as a futile endeavor that’s only good for getting in the way. Marketing views sales as the big brother who gets all the money. It’s a battle trying to get sales to see value in the marketing department. Even if marketing is trying to help sales achieve its goals.
“Sales departments tend to believe that marketers are out of touch with what’s really going on with customers. Marketing believes the sales force is myopic—too focused on individual customer experiences, insufficiently aware of the larger market, and blind to the future. In short, each group often undervalues the other’s contributions,” according to the Harvard Business Review.
Based on my experience working in a marketing department, here are some ways to overcome this battle.
Let’s Get Closer
One of the easiest ways of tackling this issue? Bring everyone closer together. Let’s get the marketing team next to the sales team. Get them to talk. Exchange ideas. Ask how their day’s going. It’s small interactions that’ll get the two departments working better with each other as their communication continues to grow.
It’ll be a greater challenge today than every before as millennials and Gen Z’ers prefer to communicate without any human interaction. That’s where technology like Slack comes in.
It’s not always easy to wander out of your comfort zone into uncharted territory. A buddy system can help overcome that apprehension.
Senior managers should buddy up a sales team member with a rep from the marketing team. Do that with everyone on the two teams. Get them to meet each other regularly. This is even more important when the two departments are located on different floors.
Align On Budget
Wars have been waged over money (well, resources but the end goal is to accumulate wealth.) It’s no wonder $$$ is a thorny issue between the two departments. It’s important for the sales team to understand the monetary needs of the marketing department. It’s important for the marketing department to understand that sales cares primarily about making the deal and work on commission. A synergy needs to exist between the two departments that illustrates, transparently, how and where money is allocated.
Marcus Sheridan’s They Ask You Answer offers some seriously useful advice for marketers interested in content. And it’s an easy read. What makes They Ask You Answer a success is that the premise is simple: address the concerns of your customers. Addressing these concerns through content helps your bottom-line, something Sheridan proves in his book with great examples. Here are some of the points I found most valuable from They Ask You Answer.
See yourself as a customer first
Often, marketers are so caught up in their products that they forget what it’s like being a customer. It’s important to first think like a customer prior to developing any sort of content. When I want to buy a pair of blue jeans, I’ll browse through multiple retail store apps and websites. I purchase clothes sparingly. And when I do, I make sure to do my research.
What attracts me to one pair of jeans over another? Price is a big factor. The fit, too. Quality as well. Retailers who address these points succinctly make my life easier. If the price was missing, I’d move on to the next retailer’s page. The goal is to make customer centricity your mantra.
Create content that matters
Corporations should be wary of agencies that cheapen the value of content. Content is king, not a peasant. If a company is charging you $100 for a 1,000-word article, don’t expect any value from that piece. Content quality matters. Think about addressing customer needs and use that as ammo to create content in-house. Sheridan refers to The Big 5 pieces that could be used to develop articles that keep on giving.
The five content topics that jive most with customers are: Pricing and Costs, Problems, Versus and Comparisons, Reviews and Best in Class. Content categorized into these subjects resonates with both B2B and B2C companies. In both cases you’re dealing with red-blooded humans on the other end of the transaction who want their needs addressed.
Measure your success
Creating valuable content is important, but it needs to boost your bottom-line. This is where web analytics come in. Marketers need tools to measure the number of leads and conversions behind blogposts. HubSpot offers free online courses for those interested in the web analytics side of inbound marketing, which simply refers to attracting customers to your website instead of chasing them.
Sheridan says one article at his River Pools and Spa company brought in $3,000,000 in sales. It addressed a question that pool customers were asking: How much does a fiberglass pool cost? This article led to leads genuinely interested in purchasing fiberglass pools. “This single article saved my business,” Sheridan says. But that $3,000,000 figure comes from the use of analytics. Measuring what works in your content strategy is a necessity for marketers today.
Journalists make great content marketers
As a former journalist, I love this point! Many journalists are facing the axe as print readership dwindles. While that's tragic for newspapers, it's a boon for companies looking to tell their stories. Journalists have the skills to produce riveting content. They know how to ask the right questions during interviews and string together a great piece of content under tight deadlines. If you're looking to fulfill a content marketing role, hire an ex-journalist.
I help companies grow by telling their stories.