How to manage your social media content strategy — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Evan Perkins of Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

9:35 —'s Lauren Clevenger introduces Whole Foods Market's Natanya Anderson.

9:36 — Natanya: Content strategy is a cycle of work:

  1. Know your community
  2. Dig into business initiatives
  3. Build a storytelling plan
  4. Survey the entire landscape
  5. Optimize!

9:37 — Natanya: We typically start with “audience,” but a community is so much more! What are their interests? Passions? What are their biases and how do they relate to one another?

9:38 — Also, Natanya says to be honest about what your community is or is not interested in.

9:39 — Natanya: At the heart of community is sharing. They share about their day to day, but of course we want them to share our stuff, too!

9:40 — Natanya shares “Why Do People Share” by NY Times Psychology of Sharing report.

9:41 — Natanya: To bring valuable and entertaining content to others; to define ourselves to others; to grow and nourish our relationships; self-fulfillment; and, to get the word out about causes and brands.

9:42 — Natanya: To get to any of the above, we’ve got to know our communities really, really well.

9:43 — Natanya shares a story about working with a brand to help get the word out about sharing photos via CD. She started by asking them, “Why did you build this product in the first place?” which led to the discovery of insights about the community.

9:44 — Natanya shares “The Earned Media Venn Diagram” from Augie Ray. It captures content that works is a mix of 1) What your brand can say to move consumers closer; and, 2) What consumers want to hear from your brand.

9:45 — Natanya: In today’s world, social is all about integration. We are part of a shared customer experience so we cannot just run out and create whatever content we think is interesting or “right.” Avoid creating schizophrenic brand experiences for your customer by creating integrated content.

9:46 — Natanya: It’s worth it to understand what people across your organization are doing to help collaborate and integrate a content experience.

9:47 — Don’t lose sight of the role of your customer in the conversation. What’s the opportunity to share with your customers?

9:48 — Natanya: Our community members are some of the most powerful story-tellers, so don’t leave them out when planning a story.

9:49 — Natanya: The story-telling landscape is deep and wide. We’re all trying to support lots of different components within our organization and overtimes we’re the only ones who can see across the business. Tell your people, “Hey, we’re telling 20 stories at one time!”

9:50 — Natanya: Regarding optimization: They way you optimize has everything to do with your social business goals. This might change as your business goals grow and change.

9:50 — Natanya: This is a virtuous path! Start by knowing your community, then dig into your business initiatives, build your story-telling plan, survey the entire landscape, and finally, optimize!

Q & A

Q: Do you have tips, tricks to tools for integrating with all the touch points?

A: If you don't actively try to integrate you will be left out of the conversation. The other thing is to bring some data to the table and say, “Hey, if you had involved us earlier, here's how we could have helped you.” Lastly, find partners to champion you and invite you to the table early. Ultimately, you've got to lead out and drive this!

Q: What type of metrics do you use to help show ROI on the programs you're doing?

A: Natanya: ROI currently isn't an expectation because we cannot link into other business units. I've told the business, “Here's how I could show ROI if I could hook into the systems.” I've simply explained how we would do it if we had access. Today we try to show overall engagement; sharing the power of a customer sharing a post and WOM; and we're also doing tons of customer service (retaining a customer is valuable and cheaper than getting a new customer!).

Q: If the data you showed around optimization something you've done?

A: Natanya: Nope! Our team is small and we use a partner to help. We have very little time to get data and analyze it to be useful.

Q: How do you prioritize the content and everyone prioritizes that you know isn't in the “sweet spot?”

A: Natanya: I try to stay connected to what's most important to the brand. I get my hands on decks that our leadership is consuming. I also rely heavily on partners to help me sift through all that stuff because they do that in the same way. With some content we can turn it into the sweet spot or shift it a little to get it closer.

Q: You talked about your local community setup. When you talk about Thanksgiving 6 weeks out, how do you get all those local people involved?

A: Natanya: We used to send out a weekly guide to everyone, but we discovered that they weren't using nor did they want it. We also realized that, at a local level, our customers want to know what's happening in their particular store (they go to the brand for things like recipes).