Where to Read and How to Write Social Media Case Studies — From Social Media Process Master Ric Dragon
Social media marketing — everybody’s doing it. But what the heck are you doing with it!? In Bruce Clay and Murray Newlands’s Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals we turned to social media process master Ric Dragon for guidance in turning social marketing mantras into action. That, it turns out, is one of Ric’s fortes. Read on for:
- 3 things to do first when content marketing in 2014. Spoiler: Have you defined your biz’s passion point?
- A major content marketing misconception that may just be the problem you’re wrestling with.
- Sources of inspiration for your own content.
When you realize you need to soak up more of Ric’s tips, tricks and reading lists, pick up Social Marketology: Improve Your Social Media Processes and Get Customers to Stay Forever for a blueprint to your own repeatable, quantifiable social media process. His Social Media Today column, The Big Brand Theory, tells the stories of big brands marketing in online social so that we can emulate the wins of companies like Motorola, Dell, Hilton Hotels, Boston Celtics, and, as laid out in Bruce and Murray’s book, Ford Motor Company.
And, we know that big brands aren’t the only ones with social media success stories, so to write your own, read his latest post on Marketing Land on How to Create Case Studies to Improve Your Social Media. You can also learn from him in person at the SMX West Social Media Marketing Boot Camp next month. But first, give our interview a read and get to know how this creative marketer is using the World Wide Web.
BCI: Can you share two or three of your favorite industry blogs?
Ric Dragon: I have a list of about 20 that I keep on my blog feed reader that I refer to daily — almost like my daily news. Avinash Kaushik’s blog stands out. While he goes into some depth on analytics, it is where he speaks on larger issues that gets my greatest attention.
Another must-read, this time on branding, is David Aaker’s blog, http://www.prophet.com/blog/aakeronbrands. Aaker is one of the greatest thinkers around on branding — and his musing on various brands and topics makes this blog an incredible resource.
Share three actionable content marketing tips brands small and large can use for 2014?
- Research. What information would be really valuable in your industry? For instance, if you’re in real estate marketing, conducting a study on the consumer-decision-paths would be invaluable. Commissioning such a study from a local college could be really quite inexpensive, and end up generating the kind of buzz that would be shared in your industry.
- Passion points. Passion points are the fundamental elements behind your existence as a brand. For Red Bull, for instance, the passion point is “extreme living.” So, instead of talking about the oddly-tasting fluid they sell in the cans, they talk about people jumping out of balloons.
- Take the time to strategize. Before you create content, think first how that content can be used in multiple ways. For instance, if I start with doing some video interviews, those interviews can become digital videos, a podcast, blogs, and even the basis for other content across social media. A very brief bit of time thinking through this can create a great deal of value.
What is your favorite Big Brand Theory and why?
(The Big Brand Theory is an exclusive column for Social Media Today written by Ric Dragon that explores the social media strategies of big brands, both B2B and B2C.)
I’ve had such a blast writing that column: it’s given me the excuse to have calls with social media managers all over the world. Interestly, one of my favorites was in fact the one chosen to be in Bruce Clay’s book — the case study on Ford. That ended up being two separate articles, because I was so blown away with what they’re doing at Ford. The custom portal they created for content marketing hits three of the major social media marketing modalities: community, influence, and thought leadership.
What’s the biggest content mistake or misconception in 2014?
OK, here’s a bit of news: creating great content isn’t enough. Well, it might be if you’ve gained a critical mass of velocity of people who advocate for your brand like Red Bull or Harley Davidson. But for other brands, you might very well have the cure for world hunger and be met with a deafening wall of silence.
Before people will let you in, trust has to be built. That’s a critical component of the content journey. So, in other words, you can’t depend on a “build it and they will come” mentality — you’ve got to do the hard work of participating in the social contract.
Do you have any favorite tools or platforms that make a content marketers life easier?
I do not! Well, that’s not totally right — obviously, blogs are often a central part of the content strategy and they are published on a platform. Oh, then there’s List.ly, a toolset that allows you to not only create lists, but to invite users to collaborate in the list-making process. I love the fact that a blog post in itself can be participatory beyond the comment section, below.
How do you come up with content ideas?
If you’re an ardent reader of writers like Malcolm Gladwell or Dan Ariely, you’ll notice that they create a lot of stories around research that they’ve read about. The research journals in your industry can be incredibly rich sources of content. Of course, it means you have to do the hard work of reading those journals and discovering what’s prescient for you. Then you’ve got to dig in even deeper, so that you internalize the story-telling so that it can tell your story.
What social network is the best for our readers to connect and follow you?
I love connecting with people across all the networks — I’m really not a gated person at all. These days, I’m having the most conversations on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ric.dragon, but I’m fairly active on Twitter, https://twitter.com/RicDragon, and Google Plus, https://plus.google.com/+RicDragon, as well. Of course, I love connecting on LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/in/ricdragon, and use that to find people to meet up with when I travel.
Thanks, Ric. Pick up Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals and give chapter 9, “Social Media: Talking with People, Not at Them” a read to learn how to use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and myriad social sites to develop customer loyalty, reach consumers at all parts of the buying cycle, influence the influencers, and of course, get a sense of a company bringing it all together in Ric’s “Case Study: Ford Motor Company Taking Content Seriously.”