How a Fortune 100 Company Uses Social Media
Over the last few weeks, my role at I Will Teach has morphed and I’ve been doing a lot more bootstrapped content marketing. In other words, “write more content and find ways to spread it without a budget.”
To learn how other people and companies do this, I had a coffee meeting with a social media strategist at a Fortune 100 company.
It was really interesting to learn about how “the big boys” do it. 99% of the time I study content or social media marketing, it’s from solopreneurs or small businesses, so it was cool to get insights from outside that bubble.
Here are 5 quick takeaways from our conversation (I’m omitting the name of the company and the strategist because I didn’t ask permission to include it in these notes).
Publish on native platforms
If you’re sharing a video, publish it to both Youtube AND Facebook (instead of loading it to Youtube and then copying the link to Facebook). The algorithm is kinder to native content.
Same is true with Twitter. Load the media (video, photo, etc.) to Twitter, don’t rely on automation tools like Zapier and IFTTT to push content across all your platforms.
In other words, don’t be lazy when publishing social media content.
Use a social media calendar
This will sound like a no-brainer to some but I was surprised so I’m including it here.
An editorial calendar makes perfect sense to me but it didn’t occur to me to have a social media calendar as well. The key reason for the calendar: Plan, create, and deploy content around trending moments.
Two recent examples she gave: In February they planned very specific content to deploy against trending hashtags like Valentine’s Day and Black History Month.
Personally, at first blush this feels opportunistic. However, if there’s a genuine opportunity to deploy great content against a trending moment like this, it makes sense. Which leads to my next takeaway…
High quality, creative social spreads best
There are lots of tactics to spread social. The above 2 takeaways are tactics. Other tactics: Automation tricks, click-bait headlines, and using lots of share buttons above the fold.
But the most powerful multipliers anyone can use are Quality and Creativity.
In other words, the better the content, the better it’ll spread.
A couple examples:
- Everything General Electric does on social. This was a big surprise to me.
- The Goldman Sachs Snapchat campaign. Goldman deployed geo-targeted Snapchat ads against NYU students in September as a recruiting strategy and got picked up by Buzzfeed.
- The Wrigley Gum commercial. One of the best commercials created in years. No celebrities, no Michael Bay production costs. Just an incredible story, that’s been watched 20.5 million times on Youtube.
Brand awareness > Conversion
I asked the strategist where they drove people who engaged with their social content.
“Nowhere. If they engage with it in anyway (like, retweet, share, etc.) then we consider that a win.”
What the F100 realized was they had so many different business arms and verticals — but no one knew these existed! So they needed to put that in front of more people, and social was the best way to do it.
For example, if over the next 2 years more people learned they were one of the thought leaders in the AI space (totally removed from their core business) then their social was a success.
Takeaway: In the long game, not everything is about getting the lead or the conversion. Not everything has to drive to an email capture or sales page.
Do these coffee meetings 1x per week
(This is more of a meta takeaway but worth including.)
It’s worth it to do more of these coffee meetings.
It’s so easy to get trapped in one way of thinking until we’re stuck in our own little corner of the Internet. I think a reasonable goal is one meeting like this every week. Do that — just 1x per week — and you’ll meet 50 new people in a year with a totally different perspective than your own.
You can reach totally outside of your circle like I did here (I’ll show you how I did this below). But you can also start simpler. Have coffee with: a co-worker, your martial arts instructor, or your piano teacher.
Here’s how I set up my coffee meeting
1. I knew I wanted to learn more about content and social media marketing.
2. I looked through a good friend’s LinkedIn connections and found a few people I’d like to meet. The strategist was just one person.
3. I emailed him and asked if he could intro the two of us. He said no problem.
4. He made the intro, and then I took it from there. Here’s the email I used, feel free to use it as a guide:
John, thx so much for the intro (moving you to bcc to keep your inbox clean)
Hi Sally! Like John said, I work at a personal development/fintech startup called BLAH. MORE ABOUT BLAH.
Before that, I worked for BLAH. You can read more about BLAH HERE.
I wanted to introduce myself and see if I could be helpful for anything you’re working on in the future.
I’m also learning more about social media and am interested in learning from your expertise. I’m based in NYC and can meet for coffee anytime it’s convenient for you.
5. After the meeting, I sent a thank you note — to both the strategist, who was generous with their time, AND my friend who set us up with the introduction.
Just wanted to say thanks again for meeting me today.
Got a lot of great insights into how you guys use social. Especially loved what you said about BLAH.
Really opened my eyes to the idea of BLAH.
Will keep in touch.
Like I said, pls lmk if there’s ever anyway I can be helpful down the line.
Hope this was helpful.
Photo credit: Jason Howie