Community management has changed a lot since Social really got started in 2008, and monitoring the actual conversation, and potentially even driving it, became a thing. Over that time, community management and content marketing, has become more complex because Social is so diverse, and the expectation of operating effectively in real time, demands more skill and knowledge, because conversion generally requires highly relevant content delivered at exactly the right time, and often with investment. So you need to be spot on with this process, to get cut-through and generate a positive ROI.
While technology supporting these two important tasks, has emerged, the tools that are on offer are either quite expensive, or don't really fulfil the true potential to inspire and initiate content creation, that is on trend or into a naturally peaking conversation. Even simple objectives like creating one piece of content, and customising it for each channel, are not supported. Which means you need to create individual pieces of content, so where is the time saving opportunity over publishing natively. That said, it still surprises me to talk to a new customer of scrmhub, who explains they are still using spreadsheets to plan content.
I am a big fan of Google Speadsheets, but with all due respect, the application was not developed for the purpose of content planning and delivery. You have no version control, no workflow, no format preview and even once you have finalised the content, you then need to transition the content to an application, or the individual native platforms. When I was a partner with We Are Social, we had capable teams running complex content creation programs, using spreadsheets, and it was frustrating.
So the scrmhub team have been on a mission to change all that by making the technology work the way we know users want it to. We call it, The Hub, and we are very proud of how much it improves the workflow for content creation. This is our Calendar view based planning module, and content creation is fully integrated so you can work as a team in one complete environment, which then links out to integrated monitoring, reporting, community insights and activation modules.
In line with our understanding of how content execution technology should really work, borne from our own frustrations as users, we have included some really important elements:
- Any member of the marketing team can create content, starting with placeholders for ideas, and planning dates and target channels for as far in advance as required, making short and long term planning easy
- Each individual content item can start as a placeholder or idea, then add copy, then add an image and link, then select a publish time and date, add extra channels, customise copy or images for each different channel (while still remaining as one content piece for planning and tracking purposes), and it can workflow through planning, copywriting, design and approval as required
- Clear views and filters allow all the team to see what state each content item is in, and who is working on it, and what channels you have covered in your mix. With our upcoming release of content pillar, topic and campaign tagging, we are adding complete visibility to the planning and measurement process
- As soon as content is ready, it is approved and ready for publishing to as many channels as required, with no extra work to ensure it publishes as expected. Being able to preview content as you create it, is also an incredibly valuable experience, because it helps to check the final experience, will be as intended
- When you connect this process with automated reporting, then you have added a focus on achieving outcomes, and saved a lot of time
- And while all those features make a huge difference to the way our users can work more efficiently, our upcoming release of Recommendation Technology, which we are incredibly excited about, will dramatically impact what users expect from their publishing solution. Our machine learning engine will be recommending, relative to your brand and customers, hot topics, trending hashtags, conversation peaks, trending UGC, the best times to publish, what competitors are getting right, what you are missing, and all in real time. These are just a few of the insights you can expect
Time for change
A big part of our plan is to make the content and community function fun and empowering, by streamlining all the time consuming and thankless elements of the function, and making the interface and information, fun to use. The Recommendation Technology is also about empowering the creative capability of our users, through the delivery of inspiring ideas that improve success.
So we think it is time to stop using spreadsheets, to plan, manage and execute content programs. As for the issue of cost I mentioned before, we have made our single user version of The Hub, free to use, so you won't find better than that. If you want more integration or more users, you can upgrade later at any time.
We have had a great response so far, but we would love to have you sign-up and break free from outdated methods, and embrace our new era of Recommendation driven social marketing.