15 Rules of Thumb for Shaping Customer-Centric Content in Social Media Marketing
In the ever-evolving landscape of social media marketing, we’ve asked fifteen industry experts, including Content Marketing Executives and Digital Marketing Managers, to share their top rules of thumb for creating customer-centric content. From employing the “Empathy Echo” strategy to following the “Know, Like, Trust” rule, discover the invaluable insights these professionals have to offer.
- Employ the “Empathy Echo” Strategy
- Maximize Impact with Content Repurposing
- Leverage Storytelling for Engagement
- Prioritize Answering the “Why”
- Implement the Empathy-Engagement Paradigm
- Create Value-Driven, Customer-Centric Content
- Focus on Engagement Metrics
- Use Social Listening for Consumer Insights
- Apply the Rule of Thirds
- Adhere to the 80/20 Content Rule
- Sell the Benefit, Not the Product
- Adopt the “Listen Twice, Post Once” Rule
- Address Pain-Points with Solution-Based Content
- Consider Customer Action Influence
- Follow the “Know, Like, Trust” Rule
Employ the “Empathy Echo” Strategy
A golden rule for crafting customer-centric content is to look beyond your product or service and integrate what I call the “Empathy Echo.” How do you do this?
Imagine your content as a mirror reflecting your audience’s thoughts and emotions. This means truly listening to your audience’s conversations, understanding their desires, and echoing that understanding back to them.
For example, if you’re marketing a fitness app and your audience is expressing struggles with motivation, don’t just promote your app’s features. Instead, create a post that resonates with that struggle: “We know staying motivated is tough. That’s why our app nudges you with personalized, encouraging messages. It’s not just about tracking progress, it’s about celebrating the small victories on your fitness journey.”
By empathetic engagement, you won’t just reach an audience. Dig deeper, and you’ll connect with them on a personal level, producing posts that truly resonate with them time and again.
Maximize Impact with Content Repurposing
Repurposing existing content into new formats is a go-to technique for maximizing social media marketing. One approach that’s worked extremely well is transforming long-form educational guides into a series of snackable social media posts.
For example, when we publish a comprehensive how-to article on optimizing website speed, we’ll break that down into smaller tips and advice threaded through a week of LinkedIn and Twitter updates. This extends the reach and lifespan of a single asset, while allowing us to tailor messaging for different channel audiences. Promoting the full piece through the updates drives traffic and leads back to the site. It’s a win-win of awareness and conversion.
It only requires a bit of upfront planning to identify shareable excerpts for each platform’s sweet spot. Our goal is to orchestrate content for maximum impact across all stages of the reader’s journey. Intelligent repurposing is essential to connect with audiences wherever they are.
Leverage Storytelling for Engagement
I believe one strategy that has consistently worked for us at TeamUp is storytelling. We’ve found that people connect with stories on a profound level. Thus, we leverage our social media platforms to share compelling stories about our brand, products, and even our customers. These stories are carefully crafted to be authentic, relatable, and deeply aligned with our brand values.
For instance, we recently shared the inspiring journey of one of our fitness studio clients on our social media platforms. This client not only achieved remarkable success with our software but also transformed the lives of their members. This strategy has led to a noticeable increase in engagement and brand loyalty. Our social media posts featuring stories like these have seen a 30% boost in likes and shares, reinforcing the idea that storytelling is a potent tool for building a customer-centric approach to social media marketing.
Prioritize Answering the “Why”
Crafting customer-centric content is an art that demands sheer dedication. In my experience, prioritizing the “why” is crucial in engaging customers. To answer the whys of the customers, I showcase the benefits of the products and how they can positively impact a customer’s life.
For example, instead of just uploading a photo, I write a caption explaining the problem-solving factors of the product. By doing this, I can effectively answer the whys and the pain points of the customer, and this helps me in successfully making customer-centric content.
Implement the Empathy-Engagement Paradigm
One rule of thumb that has consistently guided our content creation is what we internally call the “Empathy-Engagement Paradigm.”
It’s simple yet profound: “Always craft content as if you’re addressing a singular individual, not an audience.” This approach ensures that every piece of content resonates on a personal level with each member of our audience.
For instance, when we release a new feature or update, instead of just announcing it, we frame the content around how this change addresses a specific challenge our customers might face.
This personalized approach not only boosts engagement but also fosters a deeper connection between our brand and our audience.
Create Value-Driven, Customer-Centric Content
Creating customer-centric social media content that provides value is crucial. I’ve worked with various companies across sectors and observed a common misconception: many marketers focus their customer-centric content on selling products or services. However, I firmly believe it should offer information, entertainment, or inspiration.
Value-driven, customer-centric content encourages engagement, sharing, and return visits. First, identify their main issues and offer content to help them overcome these obstacles. Then, share humorous, captivating videos, or thought-provoking content to engage them.
This approach works in both B2C and B2B sectors, with companies like Wendy’s and General Electric excelling. Both have successfully harnessed these strategies to foster stronger customer relationships and drive business growth. Based on our experience and our own clients’ success, we know that these strategies work.
Focus on Engagement Metrics
Stick to engagement numbers at all costs. Do not be distracted by vanity metrics like impressions. The essential aspects are engagement in the form of comments and shares, even more so if your audience engages in discussions over your post. This is a clear indicator that your content resonates with the audience, either because it triggered emotions (positive or negative), was helpful, educated, or made them smile.
These engagement triggers are your signal for customer-centric content. Match this content with content that is uniquely created for your customers. Do not just share random product information or ads. Most platforms offer all necessary KPIs. Use them to adapt your content constantly. This should happen at least on a weekly basis.
Use Social Listening for Consumer Insights
Use social listening to create data-driven consumer insights. Consider searching for trending conversations in adjacent communities to inspire creative and relevant posts that will help you foster and cultivate your audience organically.
Review negative comments on your direct competitors’ posts and see if there are any areas where they are consistently failing that your company does well to create strong differentiating statements. Ensure that your messaging illustrates the benefits that your product or service will provide in your customer’s life, particularly for product-forward organic posts and paid ads.
Think of these posts in terms of this formula: Problem => Feature/Value Proposition => Benefit. This will help you be consistent in hitting all important marketing points in your storytelling.
Apply the Rule of Thirds
When shaping customer-centric content for social media, a great rule of thumb is the rule of thirds.
It’s not enough to know your audience and speak their language if you’re always serving up the same old content. For your content to be well-balanced and engaging every time you pop up on their feed, you can break it down into three different pillars.
The first includes any type of promotional content that aims at a conversion. Talk about your services, introduce your team, showcase a new product, or any exciting offers you’ve got going on.
The second is all about sharing content from real people—your users, influencers, or testimonials from past customers.
The third includes educational or insightful content, whether it leads to conversions or not. Here, your goal should be to provide value, answer questions, and offer information or industry news that’s genuinely useful to your audience and they would be interested in.
Adhere to the 80/20 Content Rule
One invaluable rule of thumb for crafting customer-centric content for social media marketing is the “80/20 Rule”: 80% of your content should educate, entertain, or inspire your audience, while only 20% should be directly promotional.
By emphasizing value-driven content, you’re fostering a genuine connection with your audience. It shows that you’re not just there to sell, but to enrich their experience, offer solutions, or provide insights. This builds trust and engagement, making the 20% promotional content more effective when it’s shared.
Always prioritize the needs and interests of your audience, ensuring most of your content resonates with them on a personal or educational level. This approach not only boosts brand loyalty but also positions your brand as a valuable resource in your industry. So, instead of constantly pushing products or services, focus on creating content that adds value to your audience’s lives.
Sell the Benefit, Not the Product
Generally, we don’t like to be sold to; we don’t like to be told what we should buy, how much we need the product, or how much it’s going to hurt our bank account. Whether this is B2B or B2C, one rule of thumb I use when creating content is to center it around how this product or service benefits the user.
One product or service can have many benefits, which can be spoken about in many different ways. By articulating these benefits instead of merely focusing on the product itself, you convey a genuine concern for your online audience’s well-being, fostering a deeper sense of care and engagement.
Adopt the “Listen Twice, Post Once” Rule
The “Listen Twice, Post Once” Rule for Customer-Centric Content. One useful rule of thumb for shaping customer-centric content for social media marketing is to “Listen Twice, Post Once.”
This means you should spend twice as much time listening to your audience as you do creating and posting content. By actively engaging with your followers, understanding their needs, and addressing their concerns, you can tailor your content to resonate with their interests and preferences, ultimately building stronger customer relationships and driving engagement.
Address Pain-Points with Solution-Based Content
We always get the most engagement from creating pain-point content and showing beautiful solutions to those problems. Our following engages the most with before-and-after photos accompanied by a good narrative. Story-based marketing is everything today because it’s how we connect with each other. People connect to brands that tell good stories in their content.
Consider Customer Action Influence
Researching or accounting for how a post will influence customer action is important. When launching a customer-centered campaign on social media, one must account for the action a customer will take.
This action could be triggered by emotion or inspiration that people will receive from the message. The desired actions are to buy and shortlist, but a top-tier marketer should be ready for any eventuality. The best way to stay ahead is to always conduct A/B testing.
Follow the “Know, Like, Trust” Rule
A fundamental rule of thumb for shaping customer-centric content for social media marketing is to “Know, Like, Trust.” This means that you should aim to build a relationship with your audience by getting to know the type of content they respond to.
Help them like your brand by creating content that resonates with them, and earn their trust through being transparent and reliable. For example, by providing valuable content, delivering on promises, and addressing concerns promptly and professionally.
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