Posted on May 2, 2013 by Webfor By Sara Thompson Social media users have an innate desire to talk about and share things that they think are compelling, relevant and/or hilarious, and they are competing for a captive audience with millions of other users. When marketers prepare social posts they have to ask themselves, “What makes my brand so interesting that it will stand out amongst a sea of tweets. What will make people will want to click my links, read my blog and share my content with their friends?” It’s incredibly difficult to succeed in social media unless you have something valuable and captivating to say. It’s not enough just to have a profile on Facebook and Twitter. If you want your social strategy to be the magical force your brand needs, you’ll need to make it a vehicle for your content strategy. Why do I need a content strategy? The purpose of a content strategy is to tell the world your story. Hopefully that results in attracting customers and holding their attention long enough for them to see the intrinsic value in your product or service. Let’s say you get invited to pitch your business to a group of potential investors, or even “The Shark Tank” on ABC. They’re waiting to hear something spectacular or at the very least valuable. Don’t you think you would spend as much time as you could preparing for that opportunity? It would certainly be foolish to step up to the plate and just say whatever comes to mind. Yet, that is exactly what a lot of businesses are doing with their social strategies. This is a huge opportunity going to waste. Being prepared is crucial because the online social world is incredibly active. There are bazillions of conversations taking place amongst people who not only have big influences in yours and other industries, but they also have very short attention spans. You’re not just competing with the other businesses who do what you do or sell what you sell, you’re competing with EVERYONE who has something interesting to say. That is where your content strategy comes in, and why you should have a strong handle on it before you jump into the twittershpere. How do I develop a content strategy? While you dream up your kick-ass content strategy, ask yourself these questions: What niche do I want to be involved in? (e.g. roofing) What are my customers’ challenges? (e.g. leaky roofs) What type of content do my customers prefer? (e.g. articles, infographics, videos) How can I create consistently useful and interestingcontent that will attract new customers and keep old ones? (e.g. create a blog on my website with informative posts– including text, photos and video– about how to manage various roof types and publish often.) What business results do I hope to achieve with my content strategy? (e.g. more customers and increased sales.) How will I know if my strategy is successful? (e.g. by regularly looking at how many new customers and new sales are made since implementing my content strategy.) Now you can do a cannonball into the social pool Marketing your content on social networks can help you distribute your content a whole lot faster and reach many more people than your website can. However, your strategy does not need to be complicated. This is just a plan of attack that should work seamlessly with your content to help you achieve your goals. Understanding how consumers behave online is a critical part of your social strategy. They use an ever-increasing list of networks (relatively new ones like Pinterest and Tumblr are worth looking into), they are often not shy about voicing their opinions about specific brands, and those opinions shape the buying decisions of their online friends. To put it plainly, social media is the new marketplace. Therefore, it is extremely important to be mindful of what you’re putting out there, and where. If you create and share content that is undeniably interesting however, the online world is your oyster. Happy strategizing!