When it comes to social media, the primary objective of any organization, whether you are from the Government, private or non-profit sectors, is to ‘Listen, Respond and Engage’ with and to your audience. Whilst the objective may be the same, the overall strategy may be very different. Let’s look at the potential differences in the design of each sector’s content strategy.
Starting with Governments; their primary content strategy would be to inform. The Internet is arguably the best way to disperse information to the masses. It is quick, cheap and effective. One of the main reasons the Government may use the Internet (as you may have seen on this blog post) is to give out information on public health. For example, it’s flu season at the moment, and to save long-term costs, the Government is campaigning to raise awareness of potential risks of contamination as well as to educate people that they can get their flu shots.
Another way that Governments would plan their content strategy is around listening. They need to be dynamic, responsive and current. One of the ways they will achieve this is by monitoring feedback, and posting current information in a now-anticipated timely fashion. An example of this could be to publish a list of recalled items on the Health Canada website.
This means that for Government, their content strategy will be built around informing and listening.
For non-profits, their content strategy must start with engagement. It’s a very competitive world out there, and given the state of the world economy, it is becoming harder and harder to get donations to fund non-profits, and this means creative ways need to be sought to engage audiences. The reason for the emphasis on engagement is because the objective is that the engagement will lead to awareness and potential donations. An example of this would be the ALS Challenge (I know I use this example a lot, but it’s been such a success story it’s the first one that comes to mind and to Google!).
This doesn’t mean that they are not listening as well. They absolutely are listening to their audience, and watching what other non-profits do.
What about private organizations? The purpose of private organizations is to make money, so their content strategy would be all about driving sales or awareness that leads to sales. This quote puts it really succinctly:
“Content marketing is like wrapping your sales pitch in bacon,” said Lauren Patrick, Marketing Content Manager, Urjanet. It’s not an advertisement. It’s not, ‘Buy me now! Here’s why.’ It’s, ‘Here’s a really interesting problem, and here’s a way to solve it. Here’s our solution.’ ”
Lead generation is crucial to the content strategy of all private organizations, but they cannot get the leads without engaging the audience i.e. there has to be a reason for the audience to part with their details. What is in it for them?
In summary, all organizations need to Listen, Respond and Engage, but the emphasis on each of these three factors is different for the type of organization you represent. It is all about what you want to achieve. Governments have to Listen and Inform. This is different from non-profits who have to Engage and convert. Private companies have to Engage, get information on clients and convert them to prospective clients. All organizations must respond to their audiences to enable growth and success.
As always, I look forward to your comments on this post.