Tag Archives: audience

Are You Wasting Your Time and Money in the Content Strategy World?


It is almost a year since we ventured to write a post about content as part of a marketing strategy. It’s probably not surprising that it has been this long as the topic is extremely well documented upon. You could almost call it a shock of content – to borrow a word. (borrowed from here)

Anyway, we were reminded recently of how precious time can be wasted in a business environment. We were discussing a potential client’s digital marketing activity. They were proud of their efforts in that they activated an online presence through a website, social media and a blog. So far so good – you say.

We asked to see their strategy document, be it an overall marketing or a digital one. They replied that they hadn’t written one down. “No problem, ” we said and asked them to tell us what topics they shared with their audiences. They replied “really interesting information about our brand / products etc.”

We had a quick look at the aforementioned prospect’s online activity and noticed that a) there was no real SEO being undertaken, the blog read like an advertisement and they were cross distributing posts across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Even their social media profiles were inconsistent and definitely not brand aligned.

Nor did they measure engagement rates but they did know their followers /page likes figures.  And therein lies the problem with brands on ‘digital’ nowadays. Sometimes their activity does not form part of an overall cohesive marketing strategy. Most of their online activity is a waste of their time.

“Is this not marketing”, they asked, to which we replied “yes, but not with any empathy for the customer’s experience of the brand.” In fairness, their intentions were good and all they lacked really was a vision; a strategy as to what they want their brand to be known within a specific audience.

Like many businesses who are caught up in the allure of the ‘shiny online baubles,’ this organisation doesn’t concentrate on building a congruent and relevant brand experience across the web.

Our discussion motivated us to pen this article in relation to the much-abused words content and strategy. We will spend the rest of this post outlining why we think it is important to have a content strategy and how to implement it in a way that doesn’t waste anybody’s time or money.

Having a strategic approach to content is a no-brainer

Our point is that more time should be spent developing a strategy, up-front, and not jumping straight into producing videos or hopping on social media channels etc. This should be a no-brainer for your organisation, really.

Not having a content strategy manager role in your business is also a good start. Our opinion is that everybody who works in your organisation should become a content strategist – because everything is content. Different people can bring it alive through user experience, blogging, ad copy, your website architecture, CTA buttons, packaging and social media etc.

If it is understood that all content should be focusing back to a core objective then every piece of content will say something (add value to) about your brand.

Be it educational, entertaining or informative – all content produced should have some link to a core marketing strategy. Of course great content doesn’t just happen, which is why we must plan tactics for search, social and offline marketing.

One word that we haven’t mentioned to this point is measurement. We don’t mean measurement of outputs – we mean how the content can be tested for relevance. Measuring relevance means, if your actions / content aren’t having the desired effect then it can be changed accordingly – saving time and money. An editorial calendar is fine as long as it can be changed when and if, needs be.

If you are a start-up business, an organisation with a cause or an SME, try and communicate some personality and character in your content. Good content is in abundance so with a little more effort, excellent content shouldn’t be far behind.

What does engaging (clickable) content look like?

We are all aware that we can pay for audience reach online through search engines and social media platforms. The real challenge, however, is after achieving a targeted reach – making your content clickable i.e. inspiring enough for people to click-through.

Here are 6 ways that an organisation can make their content more engaging:

  1. make your content relevant for the platform that you are on e.g. LinkedIn vs Instagram
  2. have an emotional element in your content to make it shareable
  3. ensure your style is conversational  – it is social media after all
  4. make it unique, valuable or at least compelling
  5. spend more time developing a great headline
  6. make sure it is well written i.e. structured well and free from grammatical errors

Whether owned or paid for, creating clickable content is key to spreading the word about how you can solve customer problems and inculcating your brand story.

How about outsourcing your content strategy?

We know that Google is eradicating old (bad) SEO tactics. We also now know that they are encouraging the use of content to prove search result relevancy. This is only right, in our opinion. But, what if you don’t have the staff, time or the experience to manage this element for your organisation?

Unfortunately, what’s happened is that many content gurus have appeared on the scene – promising you the world and its mother. Let’s call this activity they offer – online marketing.  Many of these gurus don’t appreciate that providing different types of content for use online only forms part of your overall marketing strategy.

The danger is that other, possibly simpler and more relevant, forms of marketing might be neglected. Communicating online should not be a stand-alone marketing activity.

Also, it is not as easy as they say it is. Imagine trying to be an SEO and social media expert, a journalist, a project manager, a community builder and an analyst. On top of this, you must have a sound knowledge of the business and a pleasant disposition (this last one is not an option).

Here are some considerations for you if want to outsource but avoid the said gurus:

– they should have the skills to research and write, informative and valuable content

– they should know what to write when to write it, how to distribute it and analyse the results

– they should be able to explain how they will conduct on / off page SEO and show results

– they should be able to outline how they will get good value for any paid-for activity

– they should have examples of successes achieved with other clients

Tips on how to make your content strategy stand out and how to avoid mistakes

Every bit of research is telling us that the availability of content is ever-expanding. It’s a huge element of online marketing and has become a favoured lead generation tactic for many organisations. There are mistakes that can be avoided and to help your content stand out in a crowded marketplace, here are some Dos and Don’ts, we recommend:


– Write what you want to write about – get potential reader insights

– Pump out truckloads of content as a box-ticking exercise

– Forget that relevant content distribution is 50% of any success

– Write the piece, neglect to edit and publish under time constraints

– Miss the opportunity to engage further or convert a CTA

– Be inconsistent by not sticking to a schedule (whatever frequency that is)

– Be afraid to voice your opinion on heartfelt topics – originality is good

– Ignore design, layout and optimisation for search

– Forget analytics so as to be informed as to what’s working and what’s not


– Align your content strategy with your business plan

– Make your content relevant to a specific audience for a specific pain point

– Reinforce your brand’s positioning by incorporating your branding elements

– Use appropriate channels / formats for how your audience want to absorb your content

– Curate content as well as creating content and re-use offline where appropriate

– Make it user-friendly and findable

– Commit the resources, both human and financial, internally or externally

– Use owned, paid and earned media to achieve your business objectives

– Measure CTAs and conversions


The importance of a content strategy is becoming more evident which, in turn, is being driven by Google’s search algorithms. However, producing content is still de rigueur. This is fine if it is attracting the right target audience and getting them to take appropriate action as a result of them engaging with your content.

It is imperative though that your content strategy is integrated with your business objectives to ensure that it yields results. The one caveat we would have is that a successful content strategy is not something that is achievable in the short term, it can take a long time.

If you do decide to implement a content strategy, though, just remember to be yourself (define your brand), speak in a language people understand and make it shareable. Then you won’t be wasting your time in the content strategy world.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K

Is Business Blogging Now Wasting Your Time?


I was scrolling through previous O’C&K blog posts and came across one we wrote in 2013. It was titled An online presence is just smart businesshere. The content didn’t include blogging per se, but I thought that despite it being three years old it was still relevant.

This made me think about the relevancy of business blogging today and pushed me to write this blog. One thing is clear, though – it is even more vital nowadays that you manage your online presence in a pro-active manner.

Part of this pro-activeness would be aligning your blog activity with specific business goals such as awareness, credibility and even lead generation. A note of caution however – your blog will be a waste of time if it is not laser focused on and distributed to, a specific audience.

More and more we are hearing about content shock and the sheer tsunami of information available online. In this post, we are not going to approach this topic but will talk about why we think businesses should still blog. As usual, we will also provide some tips on how you might get better at it.

Just one caveat for this post – we are talking about business blogging and not personal blogging. Most personal blogs are a hobby or are a way of making money (from ads).

A business blog is simply another marketing tool for your business. Not unlike using social media channels, a blog can support your business activity by driving traffic to your website and help you to be part of a conversation.

Another point of difference is that a personal blog will reflect personal experiences (usually). A business blog will talk about topics that relate to your business. For instance, all O’C&K blogs fall under one of 5 sections – outline on the right-hand side of this page.

Each topic complements how we help organisations with their business objectives through Smarter Marketing. As a consequence, our Smarter Marketing Blog provides real tips and timesavers directly to our target audiences.

Why bother with business blogging at all?

As alluded to above, every time you post a fresh blog post you create a new opportunity for somebody to visit your website, to read it and subsequently share it with a new audience. You are also improving the chances of your website ranking on search engines for that particular blog topic. A third advantage is that blog posts provide your business with fresh content to share on your other digital channels.

Depending on your own time, or whether it is outsourced, business blogging can be a relatively low-cost way to get your website found by business prospects. What you do with them on your site is a completely different story and probably a topic for a separate blog post.

As important as the quality and relevance of your content is, what is equally important is – knowing your audience. Usually, the topic for any of our blogs, reflect a particular issue that we are helping a client with. This, we find anyway, keeps the tips provided – real.  One way we approach each post is by answering the following questions:

  • Who will we be talking to
  • What do we want them to know
  • How do we want them to feel
  • What would we like them to do after reading the post

However, we believe that this last question is evolving. In the current inter-connected world, the power has shifted to the consumer. The thing is you cannot ‘get’ them to do anything – but if you help them somehow they might decide to share the positive experience.

For instance – we will be sharing some pointers with you in the next paragraph. If you think they would be relevant to say a colleague or friend, would you share this post with them?

How can your business blog turn a scanner into a reader?

You might have spent hours / days / weeks researching, writing, editing and distributing your prize blog and then what? Nothing – no shares, no likes, no sharing, no site visits.

Yes, this happens but it is not always about your writing skills (or lack of). Think about it – most of us don’t read articles anymore – we scan them. The trick, therefore, is to make your blog post scannable.

Nine tips and timesavers for making your blog post more scannable:

  1. If you have a general topic you want to write about – break it into a few different, shorter posts
  2. Explain up-front what the blog is going to be about
  3. Try and stick to about two sentences per paragraph and even some with only one
  4. Use subheadings (min-headlines) frequently – they are the stepping stones from Headline to Conclusion
  5. If you mention a number in the introduction paragraph – use numbered bullet points
  6. Insert tweetable quotes throughout the content – they are a visual break and a CTA all in one
  7. Internal links make your site stickier and external links provide proof of research
  8. Don’t be afraid to be yourself – use italics and bolding – just don’t overdo it
  9. When finished re-read the formatted elements of your blog and see if they help the post flow

Where does business blogging fit into a marketing strategy?

We’ve already mentioned that your content must be interesting and relevant to your audience. It also has to be well positioned or it will not be found in the first place. So rather than just trying to attract any type of reader your blogging should form part of a bigger content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy will ensure that you address such elements as

  • Goals, schedules and an editorial calendar
  • A supply of keywords / phrases / topics that are relevant, useful and shareable
  • Improved content so as to avoiding the selling-your-wares trap
  • Improved SEO and SEM
  • Planning for metrics such as email opens, mentions, reviews, queries and leads


From an audience point of view, every blogger is clamouring for attention and it is getting more difficult for the reader to sift through the noise to find what matters to them. Blogging does make sense for your business but can be a waste of time if you don’t address the noise problem. It is entirely up to you what you do to help your customers filter the noise.

I mean – why should anybody care about your blog (or your business) unless it helps them in some way.

Your blog is a way of putting yourself in a position to contribute in an area that your audience is already focused. For instance, social media allows you enter conversations that are already taking place. You need to talk about their issues, in their tone of voice and then just listen and learn.

Talking to yourself isn’t much fun nor is it profitable for business.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K

12 Things You Want To Know About Event Sponsorship


I was chatting recently, with a bunch of my friends, about the array of large sports events on offer this year. There are the Rio Olympics, Euro 2016, the Tour De France, the Cricket Series and the Ryder Cup, to mention but a few. The conversation came around to money which led us, inevitably, on to sponsorship.

Some of you that know my background will appreciate that this topic is one of my favourites.

In fairness, my friends stayed with me as I espoused brand fit and awareness, crowd loyalty and the attitude of rights owners. They know that brand communication is what I do for a living, so they were sympathetic.

As usual, I ended up discussing (arguing) the difference between advertising and sponsorship – even if I knew they were just doing it to get me going.

For the record, guys, of course, both advertising and sponsorship have massive power and they do go hand-in-hand mostly. But, I believe there are different reasons for using them separately.

My discussion prompted me to write this post about sponsorship. I will outline 3 important pre-sponsorship agreement areas to attend to and then list 9 reasons why event sponsorship is effective.


Advertising is perfect (and necessary, we could argue) for establishing a brand and raising awareness. It usually is a campaign so it is for a specific duration with measurable results.

Sponsorship, on the other hand, is usually a long-term commitment between a business and an event. The objective is to build a strong and sustainable relationship with an audience. Preferably the audience should be mutually sought after by the business and the event. With a good partnership, research shows that good event sponsorship can lead to high levels of awareness, recognition and loyalty.

Event sponsorship is best where businesses genuinely have a joint objective, with the rights holder. In essence, it should fit both of their images, values and audiences.

From a sponsor’s point of view, they should be relevant to the nature of the sponsorship (similar attitudes as the audience). They should have some similar demographics e.g. geographical, and should be in it for the long term. As a result, they will have a greater chance of affecting the attitude of their target audience.

As I’ve pointed out in previous posts on sponsorship, changed attitudes can lead to changed behaviour. At the end of the day, with clear marketing communication objectives, a business will be able to decide whether to use advertising, sponsorship or both.

An up-front effort will ensure that you start off on the right foot.

Traditionally there have been seven sponsorship platforms:

  1. Arts & Culture
  2. Broadcast
  3. Cause
  4. Fashion
  5. Film
  6. Music
  7. Sport

You could probably add digital (eGaming), on to that list now. To a certain extent, nearly all of them can be approached in the same way. This is because the most important part of a sponsorship is that the partnership is a win-win-win situation i.e. for the audience, the event owner and you, the sponsor. You getting bang-for-your-buck is, of course, essential if the partnership is to endure.

We would suggest three essential things to do before entering a sponsorship arrangement.

The first one is at the identification stage. You really should undertake research to determine what relevant opportunities are available. Needless to say that there will be many events looking for a sponsor. However, you should only consider those that have the same values, audience and attitude as your brand. We call this, having a good brand fit.

When you have a list of potential prospects, be tenacious when meeting with them by asking pertinent questions. For example, determining the timing and place of the event is important because it must fit your business calendar or portfolio of other sponsorships.

Also, find out if there is a communications / event theme (does it match yours?), is there a marketing budget / team (will you have to do it all?), what is the size of the database (will they get the audience they propose?) and who are the other sponsors / suppliers (any competitors in there?).

The second most important thing is determining if your business audience is the same as the event audience. It’s best to have a narrow focus rather than accepting a general description such as male / female / young / old etc.

The third is, determining what value you will receive for your investment. I do not mean simple branding opportunities here. If you have certain objectives that you want to achieve (speaking opportunities, meetin’ greets, VIP hospitality etc.), make sure all of them are achieved and ignore the distractions of signage / tickets / mentions etc. if not required.

You may or may not be the sponsorship decision maker

If you are a small business and the sponsorship investment is large, the decision may have to go to a Board. In a medium to large business, if you’re not the final decision maker you will have to make the case internally. In either case, the best suggestion we can offer you is to include the results of your research, outlined above.

Your outline should include such items as, brand fit, audience profile, predicted ROI, benefit packages and your personal recommendation. These are the basic necessities and if the decision maker needs more information, at least they’ve shown an interest in pursuing the proposal further. Negotiations with the rights owner can commence.

Outsourcing vs In-house

It might be that you are a business owner and you don’t have time to undertake the research above. Your options would be to outsource the job or employ a sponsorship manager. The difference is usually experience and cost.

From my own background, I am aware that a sponsorship manager wears many hats. These hats can be business development, events manager, marketing, social media or even a CSR expert!

Anyway, whatever ‘hat’ the person is to wear, you should look for as many of the following attributes as possible. If hiring a sponsorship manager they should be / a:

– good negotiator                                                  – proactive but patient

– somewhat creative                                            – self-confident and committed

– great communicator                                         – multi-tasker (team player if relevant)

– good with people                                               – decision-maker

I’m not sure where I read the following quote but it stuck in my mind ever since.

“We hire people based on the skills we are looking for, and we fire them based on the people they are”.

If you are thinking about outsourcing, here are a few questions to consider:

– do I / my team have the time                          – look for experience of sponsorship previously

– do I / my team have the experience              – are they active in the industry and online

– do I have the budget                                        – get specific references from other experts

Tips and Timesavers for Event Sponsorship

More and more marketing communication options are becoming available due to technology. At the same time, the CFOs (or your business partner) are looking for more powerful ways of differentiating your brand from competitors. Whilst you could argue that traditional marketing channels have lost some impact, one option that doesn’t appear to have lost its effectiveness is event sponsorship.

Here are 9 reasons why it’s still a powerful way to achieve business objectives:

  1. Brand awareness and recognition
  2. Targeted marketing (see above)
  3. Brand credibility enhancement
  4. Online / offline media exposure
  5. Lead generation and new business partnerships
  6. Community impact
  7. Sampling / special offers
  8. Data-base / mailing-list usage
  9. Measurable*

*I smile when I think about the traditional ad measurement of ‘opportunities-to-see’ loved by the media so much. This is like counting how many people look at your shop window but don’t go in and buy anything. I mean, what’s the point?

Bad sponsorships have been guilty of measuring the wrong numbers also. Logo exposure, name recall, share-of-voice, anyone? Businesses now realise that these common measurements have no effect on the bottom line. An example of what should be measured would be loyalty, propensity to buy and brand perception.


Event sponsorship is still a powerful marketing communications tool. As a sponsor, however, it is important to have your sponsorship objectives linked to your business objectives. Also, a business benchmark should be agreed prior to the event (Guinness do this by installing pumps in surrounding bars before an event and measuring any increase in sales + pouring rights revenue, of course).

A final heads-up is to be realistic with your target figures. Make sure they are achievable and measurable. If you have business measurement tools in place – include sponsorship in them.

Event sponsorship offers you the privilege of connecting with people and building relationships with them through something that they care about. Get it right, at the start.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K


Why Getting to Know Your Audience is The Secret Ingredient to Effective Marketing.

audience-ingredients-peas in a pod

Change is inevitable but effective marketing is the same as it was 100 years ago. Of course tools, trends and attitudes might have altered but what has not changed, is the need for a business to know its audience. Why? Because, if you don’t – how can you communicate with them?

We can discuss aspirations, online campaigns, social media, lead generation tools or even outsourcing all we want. But none of them matters unless your communication is focused on an audience that may buy from you. You need to know where they work, where they communicate, where they play, what they like/dislike – ultimately you need to know who they are.

A lot of businesses skip this ‘getting to know you’ stage and end up using a scatter-gun approach to communication. Because let’s face it – it is easier. But, just like life in general – easier does not necessarily mean better.

Also, if you’re just spraying a message and praying that it hits your audience, you’re not getting the best return on your activity. Instead, if you put effort into forums, research, listening to feedback, monitoring online conversations etc. you can then build a relevant message.

It’s not just you – your audience has changed also.

Ah yes – back in the good old days we could all sit back and let word-of-mouth do its thing. Customers would come through the door based on a window display, press ads and lack of competition. Now the competition is everywhere and the ads have gone online – so has the window display. When, not so long ago knowing your audience was a competitive advantage, now it is the norm for survival.

We’re talking here about reacting to audience changes with your branding, going digital, being social and being smarter about your budget spend. It used to be that business owners (and some marketing professionals) used to wonder over the value of a website.

Look at where we are now – your audience ‘googles’ when it wants to search for something, on their smartphone. If your business does not show up when they do – you’re not even in the decision game.

Ok, let’s assume you have a web presence which provides information on you and your business. At this stage, everybody knows that the concept of ‘build it and they will come’ is a myth. This is because of SEO and social media. This post will not address the details of effective SEO but suffice to say, it is pointless having a website unless it is optimised for search engines and promoted on social media channels

Search engines rule the world and social media feeds them.

Search engines nowadays base their results on one thing – relevance. Quite rightly, they want to provide the best result for the searcher – their customer. Accordingly, the only way it can determine whether your business deserves to be made visible or not is by ‘crawling’ your website and social media activity for audience relevancy.

As such, therefore, social media channels themselves are secondary websites for brands. They also provide a direct means of customer engagement. The ultimate goal should be for your social media audience to do your marketing for you. So, just as you will have an SEO strategy in place for your website, you need to optimise your social media activity also.

These two activities have become the window display of yore. That is not to say that billboards, direct mail, radio, TV, press and promotional brochures etc. are not applicable. They absolutely are, and should be considered as part of a campaign mix, but only as based on your target audience.

How do you get a relevant audience online?

Whether it’s social media followers or blog subscribers, people will only be attracted to you if they see a value for their time spent engaging with you. Only these people will relish a true relationship. As a result, you needn’t be wasting your valuable time with others and ignoring an audience that might convert into clients. When building an audience it is important to find a common ground between their wants and your convictions.

For example, this O’C&K blog is generally written for three audiences – business owners, marketing managers and club / charity administrators. We focus it on providing readers with marketing tips and timesavers that might help them grow their organisation. This is aligned with our own business objectives of helping organisations be smarter about their marketing through outsourcing.

7 tips on growing your audience online.

Based on the saying “It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear”, here are some suggestions based on our own experience of building an audience:

  1. Share ideas that are educational, engaging or entertaining
  2. Speak the language of your intended audience
  3. Be consistent and credible
  4. Personalise and humanise the message
  5. Paint a vivid picture with your story
  6. Put it in context and make it relevant
  7. Make it easy for them to find you


Growing your audience means doing the basics, well. Clearly understand who your service / product is for and know exactly where they hang out. Listen to what they say, think about your service, think about your competitors and even your industry, in general. Find out who influences them and when they become a client – treat them like kings and queens.

“We hope you have enjoyed our marketing tips and timesavers blog” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

Why wouldn’t you use social media in your marketing strategy?

social media like

13 tips for your social media campaign.

Recently I was discussing the enhancement of a brand’s visibility, with a client, and suggested that it would be appropriate for him to incorporate an element of social media as part of a marketing strategy.

The client intimated that he would prefer sticking with traditional media because he understood how it worked. It appeared that he distrusted the “new-fangled” social media and thought it would be a waste of time and his money.

He proffered some points to back up his preference. “Millions of people still watched TV as their source of information and entertainment, and a large proportion of them still listened to the radio”, he said. He asked that with that large reach, why wouldn’t he stick with the channels he had been using for years.

He continued to say that “people trusted TV / radio / press because items were researched and presented by professionals. As a result, people felt that they could rely on the information published”. Now he did agree that more and more people were using social media, but he thought that this was purely for connecting with family and friends and that not many people were using it as a reference for business.

He was on a roll at this stage, so he mentioned that most people can remember the great advertisements produced (a la Madmen), but not so any from social media. He sensed blood so he went for my jugular – from a business perspective, he said, “there’s no proof that social media sells, it can only be a short-lived message anyway and a lot of the time it’s just as intrusive as any other channel”.

Being online is not just a nice-to-have.

I agreed that traditional and social media were two different platforms but warned that they were becoming more mutually dependent every year. People (customers) increasingly wanted brands to be available to them wherever and whenever they wanted. Therefore, an online presence is a must-have, not a nice-to-have. The power has shifted to the consumer, I suggested, and if both platforms were incorporated into a marketing strategy it would provide the potential for better business results. Some of the benefits I highlighted were that using social media was less expensive (but not free), much more interactive, like word-of-mouth on steroids and can be specifically targeted. These are unique opportunities that traditional media cannot offer.

I did admit to him that, unfortunately, many businesses are persuaded to invest way too many resources in social media (sometimes a case of the shiny new tool syndrome). But, when used in a focused way, I continued, it makes marketing activity much more measurable and accountable.

You’ll be glad to know that we agreed to proceed with the setting up of a social media strategy (on a trial basis), and here are some of the questions we asked ourselves.

Get it right by asking yourself some pertinent questions.

Sometimes businesses use social media in their marketing because their competitors are doing so, which usually leads to unrealistic expectations and eventual disenchantment. The only way to decide whether social media fits into your marketing strategy is to ask yourself some pertinent questions. Such as:

  • Is your target audience using social media?
  • Have you established goals for your social media activity?
  • Have you the resources?
  • Can you define your social media strategy?
  • How are you going to measure the activity?

An overriding point to note here is that social media activity is a sub-set of marketing activity which, in itself, is a sub-set of business strategy. In this regard, a simple way of deciding on social media usage would be to ask yourself, a) looking back – would use social media in a campaign have improved the result and b) have we existing campaigns that social media could add value. Either way, here are some solutions to the questions posed above.

  • Target audience – ask your top customers, survey the rest, scope out competitors
  • Goal setting – improve brand recognition, grow brand loyalty / engagement, sales, thought leadership
  • Resources – review people, time, budget, buy-in, training, relevant content
  • Strategy – drive website traffic, distribution for blogs / newsletters, interaction with customers
  • Measurement – SEO, lead generation, engagement, conversion, sentiment, cost savings, sales

If you can answer all these questions in conjunction with your colleagues (and superiors), and use it where appropriate within an overall strategy, then maybe your social media activity won’t be a waste of valuable resources, as suggested by my client above. It’s about building trust. If customers engage your brand at many touch-points of their choosing, they are more than likely to favour you over brands they haven’t encountered, and, therefore, can’t trust.

Tips and Timesavers.

If you have decided to integrate social media into your marketing strategy – here are 13 tips and timesavers that may be of assistance.

  1. Write down a social media plan (what, why and how to optimise it)
  2. Seek out influencers from your industry (follow and engage with them and give back)
  3. Prefer content quality over quantity (should be educational, engaging or entertaining)
  4. Use original imagery (stock photos are not recommended and always check the license)
  5. Establish reader personas (solve their problems – here’s a fun tool I discovered this week)
  6. Add an insight if sharing other’s content (build thought authority)
  7. Establish a budget (management, tools, images, videos etc.)
  8. Repurpose existing content (or use customer generated content)
  9. Keep your eye out for new tools (often channels or tools are upgraded or replaced)
  10. Dabble in PPC (social advertising can be capped at a cost that suits your budget)
  11. Develop an editorial calendar (good for principles, not rigidity)
  12. Encourage buy-in (from all staff not just the C-Suite)
  13. Profiles should adhere to brand style-guides (bios, messages, images. tone, positioning)


The world of social media is constantly changing. It is because of this change that some unfounded, anecdotal evidence or myths spread about social media experiences. Let’s debunk some of them – people are reading your posts but they may not engage with them. Your blog post will not reveal trade secrets to the competitors and online activity will not constantly expose you to comments that might damage your reputation (unless you deserve it). One of my favourites is – more is better (vanity metrics) which is crazy stuff and finally, social media is free, which believe me, it is not.

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