Like many marketers, I've embraced content marketing and social media to drive better search rank, more visits and an improved online reputation. Those are key benefits no doubt, but one of the biggest yet least talked about benefits, is the emotional connection we can create with customers by tellling them our unique story in our own voice. Basically, taking what we do face-to-face every day in our locations and doing it online. MBA professors call this creating "brand affinity" or "brand preference" but I call it making your business likeable.
It's impossible to be likeable by posting a bunch of boring info about products and promotions. Instead we have to tell (or show and tell) real human stories about our businesses. They could be stories about how we've helped a particular customer, an update on our community service project or little league team, the decision process for how we picked a new product, or interesting backstories about our employees' hobbies. They don't have to take a ton of your time but you should get in a regular cadence of communicating with your fans and followers. For example it could be a simple tweet or Facebook post, "Hey folks, our mild-mannered web developer Josh is the lead singer in a hard rock band called Mara Conflict -- check them out this weekend at the Curtain Club!" These are just a few of the dozens of story lines you can come up with. For more ideas check out this ReachCast blog post.
The goal is to bring our business to life online so that our customers get to know us better and appreciate us as real people, providing real value in the community. That way their buying decision isn't just about price, but about supporting a business that has informed/helped/entertained/engaged them in a memorable way.
That's the goal of content marketing and it's explained in this video by the guy who litterally wrote the book on it, C.C. Chapman. Here's the link to his book on Amazon and you can follow him on Twitter at @CC_Chapman.