According to IBM’s Digital Experience Survey, over half of marketers believe that personalized content promotes higher engagement and helps consumers remember a brand. That’s great news for organizations with effective content strategies, but what about those who are still trying to figure out what works for their business and audience?
As the devices people access content from continues to diversify with many preferring to do so on the move, the time they have is fleeting and grabbing their attention in the first 37 seconds is key to engagement. When it comes to content, marketers face a number of challenges with 50% finding it difficult to produce content consistently, while 49% struggle to measure its effectiveness.
A successful content strategy is not just about producing content but making sure it’s the right type of content that’s reaching the right people. In this blog, we explore the strategies global organizations have used to establish and nurture relationships with their customers and provide insight into what works for them and why.
Storytelling is key to customer engagement. Consumers want to know what a brand stands for and what it can offer, so being able to communicate the company message is essential.
A good story should evoke empathy, have an outcome and address customer needs. A great example is TOMS Shoes set up a decade ago based on the innovative business model of donating a pair of shoes once a pair is bought.
Their annual campaign ‘One Day Without Shoes’ held in May encourages people to go barefoot for a day in order to raise awareness for children’s health and education in countries such as Peru and India. Using social media the company spread their story and encouraged people to tag photos of bare feet on Instagram which would result in a pair of shoes being donated. This year alone 27,435 children across 10 countries received new shoes as a result.
This use of social entrepreneurship that aims to make the world a better place or as TOMS Shoes' mantra conveys – ‘Our dream is that some day, all kids will have shoes’ - has grown the company into a formidable brand with a reputation for giving back.
Cisco has always been proactive in its use of content marketing and social media to scale marketing campaigns using channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, the company’s marketing team knew it was benefitting from social media but were struggling to prove it.
With the launch of its new Aggregated Services Router, Cisco looked to leverage social media to engage their audience in a more interactive and fun way, In addition they met their customers where they were - in online venues and the gaming world through platforms such as Second Life a 3D game, video conferencing and a dedicated Facebook page 'Cisco Support Group for Uber User Internet Addicts', blogs and an online forum.
It was classified as one of the top five launches in company history. It was the crossing the chasm point for us in the adoption phase of social media and helped us get over the hump of internal acceptance - LaSandra Brill, Senior Manager of Global Social Media at Cisco
The launch was a game changer for Cisco and compared to traditional launches, the ASR launch delivered big numbers. More than 9,000 people- 90 times more than previous launches - from 128 countries attended the virtual events and saved the company $100,000 less than anticipated. As a result, Cisco earned a Leading Lights award for Best Marketing and changed its marketing strategy to include social networking as part of every product launch while print advertising budgets have been moved to social activities.
Four years ago the global company launched a Social Media Listening Center to monitors 5,000 daily social mentions across 70 company-related Facebook pages, 100 Twitter accounts, as well as other social platforms including LinkedIn, YouTube and company-run blogs and forums. The activities of this center resulted in a 281% ROI over a 5-month period, amounting to an annual cost benefit of over $1.5 billion.
Through a powerful content strategy, IBM produces authoritative content at a high level of expertise. To achieve this it creates content for a number of different blogs targeted at a variety of niche markets through their Social Business Blog, Impact Blog, Software Blog and Smarter Planet Blog that promotes their range of technological initiatives across the globe.
As a global organization, IBM works in a variety of industries, and its content reflects these broad areas. Much of its content is collected in a library of resources which includes analyst papers, education, training, case studies, data sheets, executive briefs, FAQs, white papers, consultant reports along with an array of technical documentation. By knowing its target audience, IBM uses content to its full advantage.
The video camera company GoPro has built its content strategy around awe-inspiring visuals. With 3.2 million subscribers on its YouTube channel and 6,000 GoPro-tagged videos uploaded every day the company has a user base that is engaged and dominates the channel.
Alongside YouTube, GoPro has several hundred thousand subscribers to its alternate channels (World, MX, and Tutorials) while its Instagram feed boasts 4.2 million followers which feature high-quality images and videos that showcase its product without actually focusing on the product itself.
The most interesting things about GoPro in its use of visual content is that its product is pretty much nonexistent in its branding efforts. Instead, it shines a light on its users. To promote its Hero camera instead of focusing on the camera itself it turns its customers into heroes featuring content created by passionate users who are, in turn, becoming public heroes.
While GE may not provide the most exciting products in the world, it has the knack of making the most of its knowledge and insights.
Content-wise its outputs are varied and consist of podcasts, TV shows, and a web series along with its online magazine, GE Reports. Tapping into its tagline 'Imagination at work' GE uses GE Report to tell the story of the research going on inside the company and such is the quality of the content the stories regularly go viral on Reddit. The key to GE Reports is the diversity of topics from climate to aviation to cancer. It puts a human face to the science and engages with consumers on a level that promotes engagement and trust.
Its podcasts are also hugely successful and only last month its fictional podcast, The Message, which tells the story of a group of cryptologists who use GE technology to decode a message sent from space 70 years ago rocketed up the iTunes chart to No. 1 passing hugely popular series like This American Life and Serial.
The most effective way to engage an audience is to ask them to participate in a campaign which proves mutually beneficial. With 78% of consumers more open to interacting and building good relationships with brands and companies that deliver customer content, interactivity provides a powerful way to engage and influence.
The BBC managed this through an interactive infographic ‘Your life on earth’ personalized based on user responses. By inputting birth date and height users were shown interesting facts and figures about how the world has changed over their lifetime. Rich in facts, stats and insights, it leads to other content such as videos and articles on the BBC website.
A content strategy is key to guiding your marketing activities and ensures you have a presence in the digital sphere. By focusing on the strengths in your company and honing your message, the content you create and the way it is disseminated can have a huge and positive impact on your brand.