Social Media: Is Your Content Worth Sharing?
As pharma marketers, social media has added a new layer of complexity to what we do. There are easily twice as many things to consider when we develop a marketing strategy now that our message must be broadcast-worthy, interactive and sharable. As pundits push us to jump into social media by creating pages on social networks or corporate blogs and Twitter accounts, we must take a step back and ask a very important question — can we provide value to consumer online communities?
Your Commitment to Consumers
There is a strong belief among marketers that they already are providing value with their current online content. Unfortunately, that’s only half-true. An exceptional Web presence in the 21st century requires more than a great Web site acting as a repository for all your product information. It requires a commitment to the consumer — provide them with the tools they need, the encouragement to perpetuate the message, and straight answers when they ask questions. It requires true and transparent interaction with your customers.
So What Content Is Valuable?
1st First, you must determine whether your content has any value. Can it, and will it, be shared across the various digital channels? In January of this year, eMarketer reported that U.S. user-generated content creators were expected to reach 88.8 million by the end of 2009. By utilizing Forrester’s Groundswell Social Profiler for trending:
- "Creators" account for only 21% of U.S. adults using social media.
- 69% are "spectators," meaning they read the content.
- 37% are "critics," meaning they comment on the content.
- 19% are "collectors," meaning they bookmark the content.
These groups must all be taken into account when determining your content’s value. And once the content is created for these groups, you must then determine the mode of delivery and dissemination.
2nd Second, you must ask if your content is being distributed via a trusted media source.According to TNS Media Intelligence:
- The most trusted media source is "recommendations from friends," with 48% of U.S. respondents.
- Company Web sites are a distant 7th at 27%.
- Private blogs are in 13th at 9%.
Simply posting content to your Web site will no longer work in the age of social media. Whether it is bookmarking links or direct links to Twitter, Facebook or other social outlets, you must provide the tools for the content to be shared from one user to their sphere of influence. Unless your company has built the relationship with its customers to be the "trusted brand," content coming directly from your company will garner little trust among consumers.
3rd Third, you must plan to engage in customer conversation. Once you publish valuable content and allow it to be shared, consumers will have questions. Be ready to respond. Granted, strict regulations make it difficult to respond to many questions. Maybe it’s time to make the public aware that not every question can be answered in full, but that your company is here to openly engage in transparent and genuine conversation as much as it can. Anticipating questions and formulating responsible answers today for social media initiatives that have yet to be created actually is a great way of taking the first step to creating valuable social media content.
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