RECAP | B-Side: Marketing Your Business

AJ McDonald, senior content manager at Republic Wireless, led our 5th B-side course Wednesday July 20. AJ built Republic’s brand voice from the ground up, and has established a very active community around the company’s social channels. He discussed how Republic approaches content marketing and social media strategy, showing the creatives in attendance the “finish line” for marketing their own business.

If you missed AJ’s session or want to learn more, read our recap below!


Talk like People Talk

If you learn anything from AJ’s session, it should be this. The most important part of interacting with customers and clients is talking to them like people.

  • Let your personality shine through your content.
  • Put people first when creating content. They’re ultimately what your business is all about!
  • Make sure your brand voice also reflects your own voice and goals. 
  • It’s about getting into the mindset of customers and clients.


Build a foundation on your social channels

It’s not about being in the conversation, it’s about starting the right ones.

  • The first step is to get the conversation started.
    • You can build on your engagement from their by adding more channels or posts.
  • Provide valuable conversations starters to your customers
    • Be the source leading the conversation
    • Provide content they’re interested in
  • Find out what motivates your customers


Think about your mom

  • Talk to each customer, follower, client as if you were talking to someone you care about.
  • Be empathetic and genuine. It could be the secret sauce to future success!
  • Build relationships with your customers, clients and followers.


The funnel is dead

“A commercial tries to sell you a product. Our content should try to solve a problem and build trust.”

  • There is not a linear path to connect with every type of person in the market
  • Better strategy:  deliver the right content at the right moment for different customers in their journey
  • Instead of pushing customers through a funnel, it’s about pulling customers through a journey
    • From awareness → education → to decision
  • Show customers what they’re life will be like with your product
    • Not just your product itself
    • Answer the question: “How does this content make me a better me?”
  • 5x more consumers will visit YouTube today than will go to Walmart
    • Take away: Valuable content is a better way to reach people than a commerce environment
      • Highlights the power of social media and sharable content
    • Users are making an active choice to be plugged in
  • Stop Kanye-ing your customers
    • Provide helpful information
    • Don’t interrupt the customer’s flow through experiencing your product
  • An example of a user journey: Attract → Convert → Close → Delight


How to determine your content

“Position yourself as an authoritative industry leader”

  • Identify Target Addressable Market
    • This means developing personas around the people you are trying to reach
  • Identify triggers and stages of the buying cycle
    • What activates your personas to need design work?
    • What skills, content, and services are your personas looking for?
    • What is the deciding factor in hiring a designer?
  • Decide what content to serve up at each stage of the journey
    • Build content around the triggers above.
  • Continue to meet customers where they’re at along the way
    • Talk to your followers and potential clients to learn what content they’re looking for and when.
  • Determine rules for the type of content you’ll share
    • Examples of content rules: journalistic, personable, consistent, transparent, original
    • Good engagement is about striking the right balance between being: informative, personal and genuine.


Find a celebrity that emulates your brand voice

  • Think of that celebrity whenever you write or share content
  • This strategy helps further define your brand voice and persona you’re writing for


Questions from the group:

1. How can smaller companies still engage on social media? How can you prioritize channels?

  • Twitter and Facebook are the most important social channels to start with
  • Engagement will scale with the amount of time you put into it
  • Block out time each day to develop the channels
  • Build out an editorial calendar
  • Define what each social channel will be used for
    • Having specific roles will make it easier to manage
  • What is your business goal? Now make that your marketing strategy
    • Strategy can evolve through awareness → lead generation → retention
  • Check out your followers
    • Let them share your work
    • Capitalize on followers with tons of other followers
    • Figure out why your followers like you
    • Share other people’s content that reflects your voice and goals

2. How do you scale a personable voice as your company gets larger?

  • Make brand voice apart of social/support training
  • Create a tone guide for how to talk to customers
  • Find advocates in similar departments in the company
  • Build your business case 
    • Get management and lead team onboard for investing in social media and content marking
  • Be confident is your personas and brand voice. Take time to develop that first.
  • It’s easier to create a solid brand voice when the company is smaller, then go backwards after big growth.

3. Follow for follow?

  • Being in it just for the followers isn’t the right attitude
  • Follow people for consistency, that’s why others will follow you too
  • Don’t expand network for the sake of expanding

“Don’t duplicate all the same keywords and phrases that your competitors are using”

  • Using Conductor , an SEO tool, to determine “striking terms” rather than “highest ranking”
  • Varying your terms will help you stand out from the ocean of content
  • Try to create better content their competitors

4. How to publish unique content on all social channels without being overwhelmed?

  • Don’t feel like you have to be active on every social channel
  • Quality > Quantity
  • Add new channels as you have the capacity

5. How often do you post a day?

  • 1 post a day (for Republic)
  • Understand your priorities: sometimes getting an email out (or finishing design work) is more important
  • Have evergreen content that can be posted anytime
    • This way, you don’t have to constantly create new content
    • Contently: a tool that provides generic social media and blog content for businesses

6. First steps for jumping into toxic social environment:

  • Shutdown lies and rumors right off the bat.
  • Respond right out in the open on the social channel (not in direct message)
  • You can control the convo if you don’t censor them and engage.

7. Building your brand voice while working with a partner:

  • Have multiple meetings to get on the same page with your partner
  • Establish a co-message but still keep your individual brand



Our B-Side series is almost over, but we still have one more panel discussion with AWESOME speakers next month! Registration opens soon, so look out for the link.


Chelsea Brown

About the Author: Chelsea Brown is a UX/UI Designer on the marketing team at Republic Wireless. She looks at each project as an opportunity to tell a story and enhance the reader’s experience through design. On her days off, she enjoys running, Jane Austen novels and day trips to the beach.

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By Chelsea Brown
Published July 30, 2016