A recent report from Typeset relayed a concerning stat: 38% of writers said “knowing what our audiences want to read” was either difficult or very difficult.
Put differently, four in 10 communicators have no idea what content their audiences want to read.
It makes sense if you think about it. Consider the current situation for today’s social media specialist or manager who’s in charge of developing content for a company’s channels.
They’re typically fairly overworked — too many responsibilities to focus all that much on the writing/creation process.
They’re typically asked to do a variety of tasks–from community management to reporting to yes, writing.
And, when it actually does come to content, they’re typically asked to churn out a crap-load of content each week, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else.
You can see the problem here.
Many companies spit out content that is based on their needs and wants — selling more products/services.
But, do most companies know what their customers want when it comes to social content? Apparently, not so much.
What can we do about this? I have a few relatively simple ideas to help bring the focus back to your customer when developing social media content.
1. Develop a customer focus group
Could you create a small focus group made up of eight-to-10 customers that would meet quarterly or bi-annually? You’d ask for half an hour to an hour of their time. You’d quiz them on needs, wants and desires. Basically, you’re trying to get inside their head. To thank them for their time, you could provide a gift card or product. This would be a relatively easy and fantastic way to get direct access to your customers.
2. Survey your customers twice a year
Again, might seem like a lot of work for a team that doesn’t have any extra time. But, putting together a simple, 10-question survey could glean a lot of insight that can drive content for months to come. I mean, how hard would it actually be to put together a quick survey via a tool like SurveyMonkey? Wouldn’t it be worth the few hours it would take to create, set up and share?
3. Get 5-10 minutes on the sales teams’ monthly meeting
If #1 seems too daunting, why not attempt to get just 5-10 minutes on your sales teams’ monthly call? If you can’t get direct access to the customer, why not go to the people who conceivably know them best?
On these calls you could merely quiz salespeople on the topics and issues that are bubbling up with customers. What’s top-of-mind? What do they keep bringing up? What’s keeping them up at night? These are the topics you want to build content around.
A version of this post appeared on Arik Hanson's blog. It has been republished with permission.
Arik C. Hanson is the principal of ACH Communications, a marketing and communications consultancy that has been driving business results for clients since 2008. With more than 20 years’ experience in traditional and digital marketing, communications and public relations, Arik brings seasoned, strategic expertise to help today’s leading organizations, including Fortune 500 companies like Select Comfort, Walgreens, General Mills, Toro, Cargill and Ingersoll Rand, define and deliver on their marketing and communications goals through the right mix of tools and strategies.