Got a corporate content strategy? Got a corporate social media strategy? Do they work to compliment each other? Yeah, we thought so.

Presumably you have identified your audience, determined their online behaviors and understand their needs. Additionally, let’s assume that you have content to publish to your company’s blog or news feed. To ensure that your content is distributed across channels seamlessly and efficiently, an effective content strategy for social media marketing requires both cooperation and communication. 

Anyone can set up a Facebook page or Twitter account, but it takes a content strategist to manage social media in a way that is not just efficient, but useful, as well.

1. Create Meaningful Workflows

Creating content is rarely the issue when it comes to content strategy. The process to which content is reviewed, published and shared usually creates more problems. While content creation and sharing shouldn’t be the job of only one person, ensuring that the process is streamlined will encourage others to contribute more willingly.

Many content management systems provide widgets or plug-ins, which can be installed to make sharing content across platforms a part of the publishing process. Yet, when determining the appropriate and ideal workflow, it’s important to isolate the roles and functionality of each team member. Who creates, edits and publishes content may vary, requiring effective alerts and monitors to be scheduled so as to alleviate logjams and backlogs.

Finally, many companies must adhere to strict standards and regulations when it comes to archiving their content. Establish best practices for how published content can be retained so that it can be searched and discovered if needed.

2. Create Meaningful Customer Engagement

First, social media is about conversations and collaboration. Second, talking about your company can be boring and a turn-off. Instead, companies are encouraged to flex their content muscles by highlighting and sharing (and citing) other industry-related information. Not only does this engage an audience more than continuously tooting the company horn, it helps to assert a company as an authority in its field.

Thanks to social media, communicating beyond websites can help initiate conversations between users and companies. Yet, meaningful conversations occur when others are willing to contribute, comment or otherwise share insights. Asking questions for the sake of asking questions isn’t productive. Instead, outline questions to which answers would shed light on relevant company issues, product developments or customer feedback.

Develop a process for sharing user feedback with employees who could find information relevant to their work. It’s hard to fix what you don’t know is broken, so sharing is crucial to demonstrating the benefits of social media engagement.

While all customer feedback should be valued, it’s not always true that all customer feedback will be appreciated. Before comments turn negative, it’s best for companies to have a procedure for handling users who share less than favorable views via company’s social media platforms. Companies who initiate proactive customer relations rather than combative or defensive replies can build brand integrity, as well as customer loyalty.

3. Create Effective Monitoring & Analysis

Tracking user engagement via social media isn’t as easy as browsing Google Analytics from time to time. It includes monitoring the words people are using to talk about your company and brand, as well as the keywords they use to tag and share information.

Yet, social media monitoring is more than a full-time job. It requires constant surveillance and advanced context analysis. Consider signing up for one of the many social media monitoring applications, which can be your eyes and ears so that you can focus on other things.

By reviewing user engagement on a monthly or quarterly basis, you can work to better understand your audience, their needs and how your company can align itself more strategically. You may learn that users are migrating to different platforms or engaging more proactively as they become more comfortable. You can also gauge more effectively your company’s reach and its influence within its industry.

Like content strategies, social media is constantly evolving. What is popular today may not be tomorrow. By creating policies and procedures that are flexible companies can evolve alongside emerging technologies. Merging content strategies with your company’s social media marketing efforts can help streamline your message so that it reaches your target audience effectively.

Interesting in learning more about content strategies for social media marketing? Consider registering for Intelligent Content 2011 at which Marisa Peacock is a speaker.