April 11, 2022 Content Chat Recap: How to Put Customers At The Center of Your Social Media Content Strategy

A #ContentChat header image featuring an array of flowers with a box overlay. The text in the box says today's topic is how to put customers at the center of your social media content strategy, with guest Brooke Sellas.

Brand social media channels can be a powerful way to build community, address customer needs, and establish thought leadership in your space. However, too many teams fail to provide actual value to their social media communities or neglect the channels altogether. Either way, it is a missed opportunity that your competitors could pounce on.

In this #ContentChat recap, the community joins Brooke Sellas, CEO of B Squared Media, to explore how to put customers at the center of your social media content strategy. Read through the below recap to learn:

  • How social media can help throughout the customer journey
  • Ways to understand what your customers want from you on social media
  • Common brand social media mistakes to avoid

Q1: Where does social media fit within a customer journey?

Social media fits across the entire digital customer journey, from pre-purchase to retention and everything inbetween.

A1: If we’re talking about the digital customer journey (DCJ), social media fits into the entire journey; from acquisition (pre-purchase) to retention, loyalty, and potentially community or advocacy (post-purchase) + everything in between. #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

EXACTLY this!

Social media has so much potential to attract and retain customers through every stage of the buying cycle.#ContentChat https://t.co/3WgWGO670c

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

I love the mention of post-purchase and retention activities. The customer journey does not end with a sale. #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) April 11, 2022

A1: Definitely think it’s more top of the funnel these
days. Social media educates and increases brand awareness

Not talking about paid social media ads just organic engagement#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) April 11, 2022

A1: #Socialmedia helps throughout the customer journey. It could even be the start of the journey for some! Social media is a powerful way to answer customer questions, share owned and third-party content that solves problems, and build relationships. #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) April 11, 2022

A1 – Social Media has to be part of your Customer Journey, whether you are a B2b or B2c or D2C brand. You can use Social Media to amplify your voice or Customer Support to solve problems. One important thing, it lets you connect directly with your target audience #ContentChat https://t.co/tUhnXkbzRK

— Dipali Thakkar 🇮🇳🇩🇪- Digital Marketing Analyst (@dipalit) April 11, 2022

I think on every step of the customer journey. #contentchat

— Irina Graf (@themiceblog) April 11, 2022

Many of Brooke’s clients have 20%+ acquisition chatter on their social handles, meaning that social media is driving actual sales.

YESSSSSS. Many of our clients have over 20% acquisition chatter on their social handles. That’s sales, y’all. A BIG DEAL. 👏👏👏 #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

Wow that’s major 🚀#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) April 11, 2022

Right?! They all said they thought it would be 0-5%. 👀👀👀👀 #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

People really discount the impact social can have on building customer relationships and driving purchase decisions. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Remember that your competition may or may not be using social as a part of the sales process. Don’t miss the opportunity.

And the really important part about this to note is most of your competition is *not* using social as part of the sales process, which is a HUGE missed opportunity for them (but not you.)#ContentChat pic.twitter.com/EduvK4NpE8

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Q2: What are the common ways that brands can help their customers or provide them value through social media?

How can brands provide value through social media? At a minimum, respond to or engage with every inbound message you receive.

A2: I think the easiest way to provide value is to simply respond to every inbound message you receive as a brand, on any platform that you have a presence on (sounds simple but SO MANY brands don’t even do this – the basics). #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

A2a: Your customers will be the first to let you know, through social, if there is something broken in your brand’s products and services. Take those complaints as a gift, and listen + respond to customers who come to you on social. #ContentChat https://t.co/XGZn8wrHD5

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

OMG, yes. Being a “Negative Nancy” with your social intelligence is a GIFT. That’s the only place where change can be made … #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

I think too often brands don’t understand how a lack of a reply to a brand fan’s social mention can drain their enthusiasm for your brand. It’s critical to reply to social interactions—good or bad. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

So true! People want to be acknowledged. After all, they took time out of their day to like or comment.

— Melissa Chiou (@melissaC_says) April 11, 2022

YES, Melissa. Not every comment warrants a response, but even a “like” to show that you’re listening goes a long way. #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

EVERYONE is watching. Social media is a spectator sport. #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

#facts They think DMs should be a wall of text with a support link instead of just saying hi 🤣#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) April 11, 2022

Provide customer support as needed (not just memes).

Nearly 70% of consumers USE social media as a way to contact brands for support … not for cute memes. (I know, GASP!) #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

Memes are so 90s. 🙂

— Jeff Funk🚢 (@Jeffrey_Funk) April 11, 2022

I love a good meme. But that’s not what our would-be clients contact us about on social. 🤷🏻‍♀️ #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

Share your brand story to build a community around your purpose.

A2: Create and share your #brandstory

It has taken us from literally ZERO followers#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) April 11, 2022

Listen to your community to find appropriate ways to provide them value, even if they did not directly mention you in their content.

A2b: Speaking of listening, sometimes your most engaged customers may have problems you can help solve that they DON’T know you can help with and didn’t @ mention you on social about. This is a fantastic 1:1 social engagement opportunity. #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/LZlaq8pDz0

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

A2A: 👂Utilize social listening to “listen in on” conversations happening around your brand (where you’re not tagged/mentioned), industry, and competitors. This takes social value to the next level, AND helps you be more proactive with your SMM. #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

I couldn’t agree more, You have to listen to your Customers on Social Media, if you are not listening then loosing a good chunk of a Business or even bad Brand Advocate. #ContentChat https://t.co/yPoz4gRyUa

— Dipali Thakkar 🇮🇳🇩🇪- Digital Marketing Analyst (@dipalit) April 11, 2022

And curate third-party resources that solve problems and inspire creativity.

A2: Brands can provide value through social media by…
– Responding to and engaging with their customers
– Curating third-party content that solves problems or inspires creativity
– Leveraging channel-specific features to convey information in targeted ways#ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) April 11, 2022

Q3: What mistakes do marketers often make when creating customer-focused content on social media?

Don’t let the C-suite guide your social media content strategy. Conduct social listening and speak with your community to learn what they actually want.

A3: I think marketers get caught up in giving customers what the c-suite says we need to give them, or what we think they want versus what they *actually* want. Which is why social listening is such a valuable tool for social media teams. #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

Sad but true.

These are the organizations where you also can’t use a creative brief because “Bob said we have to send this email” is not a very compelling objective to drive your content creation process…
;)#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

A3A: Social media is a beautiful place to collect social intelligence on the VoC (voice of customer) and use it to make better decisions around content marketing, product research, and acquisition/retention chatter around your brand. #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

A3: Not talking to the customer… If I see one more Millennials or Gen Z likes XYZ

I’ll have no hair left 👨‍🦲🤣#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) April 11, 2022

Same! And as a GenX, I’m mostly forgotten entirely!#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Brand social media content often sounds salesy and focuses on features, not customer benefits. Include a “what’s in it for me” in all social media content.

A3. I find marketers end up leading with features..which sounds salesy, instead of leading with benefits for the customers #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) April 11, 2022

Agreed. We need to lead with WIIF (what’s in it for me?) not our features list! #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Address individual customer needs instead of a one-size-fits-all content approach.

A3a: I often see brands trying for one-size-fits-all (and thus none) social content instead of speaking to their individual customers and their needs. Put your customers and their words front-and-center!#ContentChat https://t.co/DJ5PqHslIj

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

A3b: An example of this is how too many customer case studies are written in the brand’s voice, and consisting mostly of the brand’s summary of the customer’s story. You need to reflect the customer’s voice for customer-focused content!#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Trying to address all their target audience in one post (e.g. this venue is for corporate events and weddings, for all type of events). #ContentChat

— Irina Graf (@themiceblog) April 11, 2022

So uninspiring!

Brands have to realize their customers will tune out things that don’t relate to them, and zoom in on what does. Your Twitter account can address multiple audiences with tailored content for each of them—no one will see it all, except you.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

I find that as well ..they get too niche on a top funnel like the social media. You got to broaden up a bit at that stage #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) April 11, 2022

And tailor your content across channels. Each social media community is unique, and your content should reflect these different needs (and site capabilities).

A3: Some mistakes brands make when targeting customers on #socialmedia:
– Posting the same exact message across channels
– Failing to engage w/ customer posts and replies
– Forcing brand content into conversations it doesn’t belong (like spam replying to a hashtag) #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) April 11, 2022

Q4: How can content marketers understand what types of content their customers want on social media?

Brooke’s team performs a weekly “see-saw” report, where they look at the top three and bottom three performing posts by platform to assess micro trends.

A4: My first tip is to perform a weekly “see-saw” report; we look at the top 3 and bottom 3 performing posts each week by platform to see what micro trends are there. Then, using that info, we create more or less of that type of content moving forward. #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

I love this! It’s so important to look at what can be improved upon and not just what exceeded your expectations. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Sometimes you have to push back. “UM … okay, we did all of the sales stuff you told us to and no one liked it …” 😬 #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

Behind-the-scenes content often performs well, regardless of industry. This content can help you build connections with your followers and increase their likelihood of engaging with your ongoing content.

A4A: My second tip is also probably obvious, but we find “behind the scenes” content performs best for each of our clients, no matter their industry. Post pics from the office party, or even from home (with permission) to get to know the faces behind the brand. #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

🤣 Yes, two efriends and I become famous for a day, because of some “visual content” of us during Wordcamp parties, which had little to nothing to do with our work LOL #ContentChat

— HAGGLETHIS.COM 🇺🇦 (@hagglethis) April 11, 2022

A5. Show the real side of the business, the human side. #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) April 11, 2022

Use opinions and feelings to earn trust and drive community engagement.

A4A: Also, STOP using so much cliche content. Most brand content lives in cliches and facts … but OPINIONS AND FEELINGS ARE HOW TRUST IS GAINED. #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/d0t954eZOI

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

Use built-in polling and other digital survey options to gain direct community feedback. Couple this with social listening, web analytics, and insights from all customer-facing teams.

A4: Ask them! Social platforms have built-in polling you can combine with other digital surveying, social listening, web analytics, and insights from your customer-facing teams.#ContentChat https://t.co/DtUwk3wiTs

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

A4: Analytics will tell you- native dashboards or the aggregate from Sprout Social, Hootsuite, etc. Also market research of social media trends – what types of content people prefer, etc. #contentchat https://t.co/iShmO0wb0J

— Melissa Chiou (@melissaC_says) April 11, 2022

Test content types to learn what resonates best with your community. Experiment with everything from your post length, visual elements like photos and video, and the time that you post.

A4: I think this one can be a tough one. But look first at what’s popular on that platform and then tailor the content to your industry

Above all testing #ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) April 11, 2022

Testing and learning is so important throughout content marketing but especially on social. You can make quick adjustments that can vastly improve your results. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Dipali recommends tools like Radian 6 and Social Bakers to understand and analyze customer social media activities.

A4 – through active Social listening, particular to understand or analyze how your customers are talking about the brand on Social Media by using tool like Radian6 or Social Bakers etc. #ContentChat https://t.co/wLOg9BlGI2

— Dipali Thakkar 🇮🇳🇩🇪- Digital Marketing Analyst (@dipalit) April 11, 2022

And conduct a competitor social media audit to understand (not copy) their social media strategies.

A4
👉Listen and learn
👉See what your competitors are doing
👉Watch engagement fall or rise based on different types of content published
👉Always measure and pivot! #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/8yFv50bv7W

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) April 11, 2022

Q5: What tools or resources can content marketing teams use to maximize their ability to meet their customer needs through social media?

Create a social media FAQ document to quickly answer community questions.

A5A: Build out a FAQ (frequently asked questions) document, write down all of the FAQs & approved answers you have, and make it shareable with the social team. Answering Qs with authority IRL … 🔑 #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

A5B: Pay close attention to your time to respond scores if you’re focused on social-led customer care. That and time to resolution (meaning you’ve solved the request for the user). #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

And the expectations have gone up especially post pandemic, so it’s got to be record fast SLAs! #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande (@shruti12d) April 11, 2022

Conduct a social media audit, including of competitors, to understand what’s working and current opportunities.

Competitor analysis is also important. #contentchat

— Melissa Chiou (@melissaC_says) April 11, 2022

Agreed. We do that as part of our social audits when taking on new clients for social media strategy. It helps you understand what’s working and where you have an opportunity to differentiate. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Erika and our team use Agorapulse and Sprout Social to gain community insights and help manage our social media activities.

A5a) I love using platforms like @Agorapulse and @SproutSocial that give you context about the person you are responding to on social and their relationship with your brand.#ContentChat https://t.co/GpixrPYAbd

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Evernote and Flipboard are helpful tools for content curation.

A5b) I like to organize helpful content resources through @evernote and @Flipboard to keep helpful links close-at-hand for responding on social, too. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

The community shares more tools for a variety of social media needs, including Canva for content design, Trello for project management, and Google Trends to uncover audience insights.

A5 – @canva for content design and planning @NotionHQ for Content Calendar@Trello for Project Management @hootsuite for Content Scheduling
Invideo – For video editing etc. #ContentChat https://t.co/XCrnSIorrA

— Dipali Thakkar 🇮🇳🇩🇪- Digital Marketing Analyst (@dipalit) April 11, 2022

A5C: For specific social listening tools, we use and love @SproutSocial. But I’ve also heard good things about @mention and @Talkwalker, too! #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

A5: Google Trends, Quora, Google Analytics – see what people are asking or engaged with the most https://t.co/rRw2zVXPU3

— Melissa Chiou (@melissaC_says) April 11, 2022

Google Trends, in particular, can be an early heads-up about questions you haven’t heard yet from customers but are about to. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Definitely, My all time fav. is Google Alerts :), Set up a Brand name in double quotations as an Alert.

You will get an update, if your brand has mentioned somewhere, It’s FREE.#ContentChat https://t.co/ciyD9qMMBH

— Dipali Thakkar 🇮🇳🇩🇪- Digital Marketing Analyst (@dipalit) April 11, 2022

I actually import all my Alerts into my @feedly — so helpful! #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Brooke’s team provides social-led customer care services, in case your team is looking for support.

A5: We LOVE social-led customer care at @helloBSquared. I’d say social listening helps you become proactive vs reactive. Also see Q/A2 – RESPOND. And try to do it as quickly as possible. Research shows people expect a response on social within 30 mins or less. #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

Q6: AMA time with Brooke Sellas: What questions do you have about delighting customers through content marketing on social media?

How can brands segment content on social media? Hashtags!

What are your suggestions for content segmentation on social? Hashtags? This is a great tip!#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) April 11, 2022

Hashtags are a fantastic way to segment on social. If you have a big team you can consider separate channels, but, yes, usually, hashtags do the trick. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) April 11, 2022

Where should you direct your social media audience to keep the conversation going? Much like Joe Pulizzi in his Content Inc. model, Brooke advocates you build your house on your own land. Email newsletters are a valuable way to nurture and retain your community.

A6Q: How do you keep the conversation going elsewhere once you have your social media audience?#ContentChat

— Sweepsify (@Sweepsify_) April 11, 2022

Great question! I’m always a “build your house on your own land” gal, so if I can move someone from social to email, that’s a WIN 🥇 #ContentChat

— Brooke B. Sellas (@BrookeSellas) April 11, 2022

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