When Content Strategy Meets Social Activation – A #ProfsChat Review

People often ask, “which comes first the channel or the content?” And the answer is that both content and channel are important.

Why have a social channel or a website or a paid media program with no clear content strategy to support your objectives? And what is the point of having great content, if no one can find it?

Last Friday, I was honored to be the guest for @MarketingProfs #Profschat. And although we were competing with a webinar by the amazing Nancy Duarte, we still had a strong showing by some super smart people who shared their thoughts on the subject.

So with a big thanks to Megan Leap for having me on the tweetchat, here is a transcript of the 112 best quotes and tweets from the event…

@MProfsEvents: Q1: Why should marketers integrate content strategy and social media marketing? What are the benefits?

@brennermichael: Great Q. Content Strategy is about having the content your audience wants. Social is about engaging where they are. Need BOTH!

@threeThou: @MProfsEvents A1: don’t they naturally go hand in hand?

@Eloqua @BrennerMichael Totally agree, Michael. Content is really the backbone of social efforts & increasingly for PR too.

@edgardiazemes A1: content should help social activation, if it is useful it will


@MProfsEvents Q2: So, how do you integrate content and social? Is it just providing content via social channels, or does it go beyond that? 

@threeThou I think people integrate them naturally, but don’t think about it and maximize their efforts, if that makes sense.

@sireadvertising It’s always good to have a plan, even if it needs to be tweaked along the way. Better to be organized and ready that not at al.

@BrennerMichael Benefits are traffic to your site, conversions, sales – and you build trust by engaging with your audience earlier.

@Hoovers Integrating content with social is a two-way street. It’s not just pushing content thru social; there’s pull involved, too.

@BarryBirkett @brennermichael So you use social to get them interested in your content?

@BrennerMichael @BarryBirkett i would say you use social to deliver what they want, where they want it

@threeThouRT @BrennerMichael: Content Strategy is about having the content your audience wants. Social is about engaging where they are.

@sireadvertising You need to develop content that is worthy of being shared on social platforms.

@BrennerMichael It starts w/ understanding what your audience wants. Then understanding where they are. Big issue w/ integration is context

@ChrisFHFX @MProfsEvents SM is a great way to get the message out; it accelerates the spreading of GREAT content

@threeThou @Hoovers Engagement is key. You can have “awesome” content but if people aren’t engaging it’s useless on social

@ChrisFHFX @MProfsEvents Have to create with the Medium in mind – depends on the goals-Generally, short bursts work well

@eamcc Like the quality intention RT @sireadvertising: …develop content that is worthy of being shared on social platforms.

@threeThou @sireadvertising And different social platforms require different types of content (people use them for different purposes)

@threeThou @BarryBirkett @mprofsevents That’s a big issue people/brands have with social. Not understanding engagement

@threeThou RT @BrennerMichael: Context means understanding the right way to engage w/ content. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs have diff context

@kmullett RT @BarryBirkett@mprofsevents@threeThou I still see too many people using social to push out content, not engaging with it.

@edgardiazemes A2: you should enable your customers to share your content on social platforms

@lizcable Social engagement has the same rules as conversation – 2 ears, 1 mouth, use in that proportion.

@eamcc Q2 Content and context are congruous. Consider as a sequence and it’s a #fail for sure.


@MProfsEvents Q3: So how do you effectively integrate content with social–not just push it out–but really engage your audience with it?

@BrennerMichael A3: starts w/ having something that helps your audience. Then conversation should flow there.

@Hoovers Context also involves previous conversations. How did they unfold? What ?s were left unanswered? Where are the deltas?

@MarComm3 @BrennerMichael Totally agree, Michael. Content is really the backbone of social efforts & increasingly for PR too.

@kmullett A3: Using slideshares zipcast feature can work, but I’ve found it hit or miss. Liveshare or Ustream can work as well.

@threeThou @MProfsEvents Tailor the content. Phrase it differently. Ask a question. Post photos. Make it more engaging

@ChrisFHFX @MProfsEvents It’s got to be about the audience – if they relate it resonates: they consume, believe… then share.

@csinkus Great point if you are using social as a distribution channel only you are missing the biggest opp- engagement

@BarryBirkett @threethou: I like that, keep trying to find out what draws in the engagement. @MProfsEvents

@BrennerMichael Best way to engage: ask questions of your audience. Then they create the content for you!

@BarryBirkett A3: Engaging is the big challenge. Even when you provide what they want, some simply consume & no more.

@Amoravick A3: Content & social should be integrated from the beginning – social should invite others to be a part of your content’s story.

@BrennerMichael Rule of successful social content: be helpful!

@eamcc W/ some shaping! RT @BrennerMichael: Best way to engage: ask questions of your audience. Then they create the content for you!

@DigitalKaitlyn A3 you can integrate content into a social strategy w/ content that people want to share:Lists, top tools,useful holiday tips etc

@Evyfindstheway @mprofsevents A3 Ask questions with content tied to your biz in mind. Then direct the community to interact with the brand

@Hoovers Social engagement won’t happen w/out the business exhibiting some deep thought in the questions they’re asking/content posted.

@DigitalKaitlyn A3 also when sharing content from a blog, its more effective to create unique messages with a link for each social platform

@BrennerMichael RT @samfiorella No. That’s right on! It’s all about starting conversations!


@MProfsEvents Q4: What tools and metrics do you use to measure success of content + social programs? 

@BrennerMichael A4: Measurement depends on the objective. And then the measurements follow. Traffic, likes, RTs, only important if they meet obj

@slbennett A4: Bit.ly has been a saving grace & the free version allows us to track countries, platforms and etc. Works great for us

@DigitalKaitlyn A4 Apart from comments, likes, and retweets, you can also focus on how many people have commented & returned multiple times

@lizcable A4: I still like bit.ly for beginners to #socialmedia. Easy, and measurable. A click can start a conversation.

@mscrimsonlips #profschat I like to think of Twitter as a gateway to more info, a signpost but you need people travelling the road to use your signs

@kmullett A4: Heavy use of Google Analytics annotation tool. When you post/promote content via channels you mark it.

@csinkus A4 Get beyond the clicks and opens. Comments, likes, RT, shares, link backs etc.

@kmullett A4b: Then bit.ly, visibli, buffer stats, crowdbooster, commun.it, and maybe even tweetreach. Among others.


@MProfsEvents Q5: What are some ways to start conversations with your audience? Seems simple, but many companies don’t do this… 

@threeThou @MProfsEvents Ask a question.

@samfiorella A5: Tip: think about your customers needs before your own. The rest flows from there.

@BrennerMichael A5: I already mentioned asking questions to engage. But also: comments on news, surveys are good, telling personal, human stories

@threeThou @MProfsEvents A5: Share relevant info. Make it fun and interesting. Simple contests. Questions. Share a photo. Be yourself.

@BarryBirkett A5: I like an approach I see some use – make a statement contrary to audience position. Can blow up in wrong audience, though.

@thisisZainab Just joining #ProfsChat A5: Share a question raised by a member of your audience and get your community to weigh in
 A5: Don’t focus on creating convos w/customers, allow customers to start conversations with you!! Be there.

@Hoovers Before starting a social conversation, make an impression–some spark of who we are/what we stand for. A response stimulus.

@Amoravick A5 Listen before you speak – that’s the start of any good conversation. Then, converse on the audience’s interests -not brand’s


@MProfsEvents Q6: What are some examples of companies who successfully integrate content + social? 

@threeThou @MProfsEvents A6 @Target does an amazing job with social, web content, blog content, video content. #Obsessed

@BrennerMichael A6: @MarketingProfs do a great job 😉 and @Eloqua @Hubspot@Hoovers@Intuit@OpenForum @SAP (of course!) What do you think?


@MProfsEvents Q7: How important is it to humanize your content + social strategy? 

@threeThou @MProfsEvents Very important. Social media is human at the core.

@samfiorella A7: The web’s underpinnings are now social, not data-based so “humanizing content” is key!

@_tashaB A7) Extremely important – any company that can provide great content while engaging customers socially is a great company

@GnosisArts A7 I made the point in previous chat, that “humanizing” is not necessarily the aim of branding, PR or comms. Becoming cliche

@MarComm3 @MProfsEvents: Q6: If you can’t personalize/humanize your business, you fail at social.

@DigitalKaitlyn A7 The reason SM for biz has been so successful is b/c it gives the brand a relateable personality, w/o that you’re just a logo

@BrennerMichael A7: Being human is EVERYTHING. Personal storytelling is the one skill every marketer must have (plug @NancyDuarte!)

@kmullett A7: Very! I say this often. H.E.L.P philosophy = Humanize message, Encourage conversation, Listen first, Promote less.

@BrennerMichael People buy from People (not companies) they know, like and trust. Help them to know you. Be likeable. Earn trust.

@mscrimsonlips #profschat I like to see kudos to people – it helps too to get people who others follow = respect the source

@threeThou @BrennerMichael And encourage them to talk with each other.

@BrennerMichael @threeThou Oh great point! Community is the ultimate goal of content + social!

@samfiorella There’s a device-side aspect of humanizing content. Producing it for engagement on mobile devices for ex.

@sudoyle Being social makes marketing – customer service alignment an imperative. Nothing ruins a relationship like bad phone support.

@threeThou @BrennerMichael Find your brand advocates and empower them through social

@mscrimsonlips #profschat – the chats are one of the best things about Twitter – gives great input and ideas and u sometimes see gaping holes needing work

@TCoughlin A7: sounds silly, but we humanize by having invested humans involved and not automating/relying on script sheets 
 @mprofsevents A7: At the core of humanizing interaction: Listen, and then prove you are listening

@pcmguy A7 frame your content / social to a story your audience can relate to. Better late than never

@BrennerMichael A7: I think it starts with a face. @SAP is managed by a real face@SocialKev and he tries to tells stories, spark conversations

@Amoravick A7, in short read “1984” & don’t be like that. Avoid corporate speak, have a unique voice, challenge ideas – be alive in content

@thisisZainab A7: Content comes from a brand with a recognizable voice. You know the brand, personally and so consume the content.

@samfiorella A7: humanizing is a variable concept. It’s whatever resonates w/your customers. Some don’t want or need “touchy-feely”.

@csinkus A7 Define yr brand voice, but B who U R- Authentic Listen 2 Understand & define personas of ur customers, fans, followers,

@thisisZainab A7: + your advocates give your brand life!

@Amoravick A7 in more actionable terms, have people buy into the content EX visible writers w/ faces who take pride in what they create.

@pcmguy The only person that can humanize your brand is the audience, you have to give them something they can relate to

@k_lee give them what the want – where they want it

@BrennerMichael The art of asking questions is a big part of being real. Just asking creates affinity.

@samfiorella A7: Simply “Being Present” is critical to humanizing Social presence. Less about speaking, more about listening.

@k_lee Ben Franklin said it best “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”

@BrennerMichael The greatest challenge in content + social is failure to put your audience first! Everything flows from there.

@threeThou @BrennerMichael And don’t be afraid to say sorry

@BrennerMichael What an amazing crowd. Really lovin’ this dialogue. Thanks to all of you! | Oh & there’s another tip: always say thank you!


@MProfsEvents Q8: What are the top 3 things marketers should start doing now to improve their integrated content + social strategy? 

@TCoughlin A8: commit, show up, improve.

@BrennerMichael A8; 1) audience needs 2) content 3) distribute content in right channel w/ right context to generate conversation and community

@thisisZainab A8: Listen. Simplify. Deliver

@pcmguy A8 Share content for ur audience not just ur brand, you need attention first. that’s best achieved thru promoting others

@Amoravick A8: Things marketers should’ve never stopped doing – listen to their audience, focus on giving value & keep the audience involved

@threeThou @MProfsEvents Listen. Listen. Listen

@csinkus A8 Optimize your content for a particular channel considering the UX , Listen across all channels and engage, Bring value

@CorettaJackson @MProfsEvents: A8: Be willing to revisit topics & refresh strategy

@mscrimsonlips A8 be resourceful, unique. Watch what people need, want. Find your niche. Be personable but real too

@MarComm3 Q8: Create content based on pain points for your audience. They will share if it helps them + you make social sharing easy!


@BrennerMichael Wow this hour went fast. Thanks to all of you. It has been an honor. Feel free to connect w/ me and continue to the conversation!

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.