PAUL DUNAY: Welcome to today’s webinar, everyone… our first speaker is going to be Joyce. She’s going to talk to us about how to engage with content marketing when you’re in a regulated environment. So Joyce, can you take it away?
JOYCE SULLIVAN: Yes. Thanks, Paul. As Paul mentioned, my name is Joyce Sullivan. I do social media strategy for both regulated industries as well as some specialty firms. There’s a place I like to start when people ask me “How do I get my message out there?” or “How do I best reach my audience?” I always like to start with what I call the five questions, which for me are really the cornerstones of all social media strategy programs. I’d like to go over them now. And then I’ll take you through how we would use them.
Starting with who are you? sounds like a very basic question. But your brand is at the heart of who you are, and who you may be familiar with. It’s a very good way to remind yourself what’s the essence before you start sharing your content.
Secondly is your message, what you have to say. Again here’s the core of what you want to convey. So remind yourself why it’s important — again this might seem like the most basic stuff, but I find if you get these five set before any campaign or any particular message you want to share, it really gives you a great foundation.
Third is your audience, whom you’re trying to reach. Each campaign, and therefore your messages, may vary slightly over time. Check in to be sure, based on what you want to be sharing, that it is for the audience at this moment in time that you want to reach.
Number four, the tool, how does your audience want to be reached. This is interesting. When people come to me and are looking to develop their social media strategy, they typically start with the tool. “Should I be on Facebook, should I be on LinkedIn, should I have a Pinterest board?” I think that that’s a very important question, but until you’re clear about your brand, your message, and your audience, you want to go where your audience is. Think about when you call somebody and you leave a message; they’re not picking up the phone. Maybe they’d rather be texted or found in another way. So do your homework up front and then decide which tools you want to use to reach your audience. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, there are so many of them. You don’t want to waste time in a place where you’re really not going to reach that audience that you want to get your message out to.
And then finally (but not finally, it’s really the beginning of number five) is your journey. Once you connect, what’s your plan? You’ve gotten your audience’s attention. So how do you continue to keep them engaged so that your message resonates and they start sharing it with others? This applies whether you’re in a regulated industry or a specialty firm, I have some folks from ad agencies who ask, How do I really reach an audience that has some rules? But if you start with these five questions, I find it gives you a great foundation as you begin to build your messages and share them.
So sometimes people say, well what do you mean about sharing content? Here, I’ll use myself as an example. I have my Twitter on the upper left page, and then to the right is just a screenshot of my LinkedIn; Facebook bottom left, and at the bottom right, YouTube.
Regulated industries need to comply with social media guidelines
Any time you do anything: write anything down, a like, if you put your hands to the keyboard, that’s a written record. If you’re working with financial services, or healthcare, or government, or you’re doing advertising campaigns for them, they have to make sure they know where all the content that’s shared is, and that it can be captured. For regulated industries, social media content needs to follow certain compliance social media guidelines.
There are all kinds of rulings for the financial services industry. FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) came out five years ago. So for five years they’ve been very clear about social media: there are the different things that you can definitely use, but there’s record keeping, there’s disclosures. It would be the same thing if you were putting an ad in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times. It’s about communication, supervision, and training. There’s a lot more behind each of these, but if you make the time to get familiar with what some of the rules and regulations are and what they have to do, I can tell you that financial firms, other regulated firms, governments, they absolutely want to be sharing great content.
The way to get through the gate to begin to work with those groups is to understand what they’re dealing with. If you come to a meeting and you’re already prepared, you can say “I know from a compliance standpoint the following three things have to be followed,” you already are looked at as somebody who’s an advocate and can help them reach their audience.
With brakes, you can go faster
People always say to me, “What the heck are you doing with this steam engine?” When I worked in a very large global financial firm I had great relationships with my compliance officers, and one of them had started his life as an engineer. The story behind steam engines is that they used to not be able to go very fast because the brakes were not very good. And when the brakes got better, the engines were able to go faster.
I like that analogy because it makes me think when you have terrific content, you know you can get your client’s message out there in a way that is better than somebody else. When you understand what they have to deal with and you understand that there are these brakes in place, you really can share that much more that will resonate because you understand when they can’t, what those brakes are.
So think about that. Whether you’re inside a firm and you’d love to do more with social and reach an audience, or you’re trying to work with industries that you wonder why they can’t be more open with social. Learn the rules, and believe me they will embrace you and they will look to work with you in a way that they won’t work with others because others haven’t taken the time to understand their needs.
PAUL: Thank you very much, Joyce. And a lot of what you said applies generally to folks who are starting up in content marketing. And that was certainly resonating for folks out on Twitter as well.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Where Content Marketing Meets Customer Experience, in which Nicole Kroese of Likeable Local talks about the Ten Commandments of Content, and more.
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