Editorial Planning for Facebook Marketing

 

We have all heard that “Content is King”. According to a 2011 study by the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is one of the top growing fields with an increasing number of marketers relying on content strategy for overall success. But still, many companies have a hard time to know what content they should share with their community on social media platforms such as Facebook. “Do not push information, create dialogue” is a common recommendation, but this may be easier said than done.

With this blog post, I’ll try to give you some tips on how you can work with editorial planning to strengthen the identity of your community, to create and plan content and to monitor feedback.

Define your community
To build a community connected to your brand, you should create a clearly defined identity of your community; how it makes people feel and how it creates a sense of belonging. Defining your brand identity helps align all communication around the core essence of the brand. To define the identity of your community, consider some of the following elements.

 

  • Values – What are your values and beliefs and how is this reflected in your content? This will be one of the main reasons why people join your community.
  • Benefits – What benefits will people gain from belonging to your community? The content you share should bring value to the users.
  • Tone of Voice – What is your brand persona and how do you speak and act? What words do and don’t you use? Define your style independent of who your Community Manager is.
  • Target Group – Who do you speak to? What interests do they have and what values and beliefs do you share with them that can create dialogue?

 

Create your content
Once you have defined your community, you can start creating content. Decide on what topics that will be relevant for your brand talk about and what content that will be likely for people to engage with. To create content you can consider to develop the following:

  • Conversational touch points – Define a list of topics or themes that you can create conversation about based on your values, beliefs and target group. For instance, a brand such as Coca-Cola might have sports, music and joyful experiences as conversational touch points.
  • Optimize news feed ranking – Have EdgeRank in mind when you plan on what kind of content to publish to also ensure visibility for users. Ask questions to get comments and use visual content. Make use of what visual material you have, and remember that it should rather create emotions than just showcase your product.


Plan your content
To plan your content ahead ensures that you will cover your conversational touch points, and certain campaigns and events that needs to be addressed and that you maintain a consistent brand voice. For instance plan content for a period of 3-4 weeks ahead, but also remember to maintain a flexibility so that you are still able to make real-time updates, adjustments and to take part in conversations on an ongoing basis. Consider the following:

  • Publish plan – Create a plan with the concrete updates, images, videos etc. that you will use and when it is going to be published.
  • Proofreading – The content you share on social media is public for everyone to see, so don’t underestimate the value of linguistic accuracy.
  • Schedule – If you are short on time, you may use a social media management tool to schedule some of the updates ahead. There are plenty of free and paid systems, such as Hoot Suite and Buddy Media.


Monitor your community
Closely listen and monitor your community to be ready to make responses and pursue dialogue. Conversations are fuelling more conversations and people are more likely to share when they get feedback as well. To monitor the response of the content you share and the content of others, you can consider to use the following:

  • Monitor tools – Facebook notifications can work fine and you can choose whether to receive them by email. There are also services such as Hyper Alerts that can hand you emails immediately, hourly or daily.
  • Response database – Whenever you get questions or critical comments posted on your Page, copy them and save them together with your answers to build a database where people who manage your page easily can find out how to respond to similar input in the future. You can actually start out be defining some frequently asked questions and answers to them, so you can be prepared with the right respond when the situation comes.
  • Statistics and insights – One key factor for enabling community growth on Facebook is to track the performance of the content you publish. Continuously keeping track of the engagement and virality of the posts helps you understand what content works well and what doesn’t. Analyze Facebook Insights, see the outcome of the content you have shared and optimize accordingly.

Let me know if you think I have missed any good points when it comes to editorial planning – and do you also do editorial planning for your community? Feel free to post comments.

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.