social media how toOne of the key benefits of social media (that’s rarely discussed) is its ability to resolve doubt and confusion among fence-sitters.

Yes, your prospective customers are likely confused and possibly uncertain.

During my 15 years of website strategy and usability work (before I went all “social media” on you), I tried very hard to live by the two-click rule—answering the most common questions customers have about your business on your site within two clicks.

How about zero clicks? Social media makes it possible. The key is to create meaningful content that answers prospects’ questions, and propagate that content throughout the social web, making a visit to your site unnecessary.

Here’s how it works:

#1: Become a Question Detective

First, identify which questions are most important to answer. I recommend starting with six, because it will generate a meaningful amount of content and address the tip of your question iceberg.

You can use a few methods to determine which questions to answer. You can survey your existing customers, although that’s not always the best approach because the questions are not fresh in their minds. They’ve already made their buying decision.

You can study your web analytics to see which pages get the most traffic and which questions are likely to be in prospects’ minds when they are on those pages. Or you could survey website visitors, gathering data in real time.

I also like to look at search data, both the searches that people are conducting about your company on Google (use this free keyword tool), and the searches conducted on your website (assuming you have a search function).

Google's easy-to-use keyword tool shows you the approximate number of times a phrase is searched on Google each month. Note that volume varies widely with just small changes to the search phrase.

I would also make a point to solicit input from customer service and sales teams, as they have more day-to-day interaction with fence-sitters.

#2: Become The Answer Man With Your Blog and Video

Once you’ve identified your top six questions, answer them using new media.

Not in a “here’s our FAQ” way, but in a vigorous, social media way. I recommend answering each question with a dedicated blog post and a video, at minimum. For B2B companies, I would add a short slide presentation that answers each question, and possibly a podcast that answers all six in aggregate.

A Bit About Video

Remember that video is 52 times more likely to show up on the first page of Google search results, so don’t skip that part.

You don’t need a film crew. You don’t need a makeup artist. You need an inexpensive HD camera. (I prefer the Kodak ZI-8 over the FlipHD because it has an external microphone jack. How did I know that? Because Kodak is very adept at the precise strategy we’re discussing here.)

You need some clue about lighting, somebody in your company who’s decent on camera and a loose script. If possible, on-the-scene video showing demonstrations would be great. And if possible, I’d recommend having employees closest to the product (designers, engineers, product marketing and customer service) be the stars of the show, not executives or marketers. It’s just more authentic and believable that way.

#3: Become a Digital Dandelion With Your Content

Take your written and video content, and spread it as widely as possible on the social web. Post it to your Facebook page. Your LinkedIn page. Your blog, naturally. Put it on YouTube of course. Even better, use TubeMogul to syndicate it to dozens of other video sites.

TubeMogul allows you to upload your videos once, and syndicate them across several sites. They also provide statistics for each site to which you upload — and most features are free.

Certainly, link to your content from your corporate website.  But the ideal scenario is that the content performs well enough in search results that potential customers can answer their questions before they ever get to your site.

#4: Improve and Expand

Now that your content is posted to your various social outposts, invite your current customers to make it better. Talk it up on Facebook and your blog. Send it out to existing customers via email, so they can refer fence-sitters to it. Invite current customers to comment on your answers.

Each quarter, commit to answering a few more questions. Involve your customers, and ask them to create their own content that answers other questions (maybe a contest for the best ones).

Now use social listening tools to find blog posts, tweets, forum threads and other discussions about your brand and your products, and as appropriate, direct fence-sitters to your new social media answers.

Now you’re combining content with marketing, social media with customer service. Now you’re using social media to its full advantage.

Give this a try, will you? Have you done any of this?  Share your story and ideas in the comment box below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examiner’s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 480,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • bradschwarzenbach


    Very solid and succinct advice here, especially as it relates to which personalities specifically should appear in this kind of video. Authenticity is going to trump polish in the support realm.

    I was wondering, perhaps to B2B in particular, who is doing this well?

    Thanks for the valuable post!


  • Jay, an excellent summation of a simple, but quite valuable, social media strategy. Most small businesses could do this with very little financial investment and it would likely pay off big for them.

    do you have a post on the listening tools and techniques you recomend?

  • Jay (love that name 🙂 as usual your insights and perspectives are dead on. Nice post and in particular #2. Serving a market with knowledge is the greatest “magnet” for creating value that gets returned 10 fold. Well done 🙂

  • Jay,

    Excellent points. We are actually in the process of making a homepage “tutorial” video for our product right now so this article was very timely for me.

    Thanks 🙂

  • Jay, great article (again) and an interesting spin on the purpose of the content/social media marketing mix we create. You’re almost suggesting that the website is irrelevant in you SMM strategy.

    So when you’re creating your video, for example, do you still include a call to action that drives the viewer back to your website for more information?


  • Thanks Brad. There are a lot of B2B companies creating good content. I’m not sure there are a lot that are doing it with this level of methodology.

  • Thanks for the comment Bill. I love this post (not mine) on using tools to listen to and ID your customers via Google, etc.

  • Thanks so much Jay. I’m a big fan of your work, and am simply delighted that you’re finding value on my basic, packaged musings. The stuff you’re doing is so much more transformative, but my role in this biz is to hopefully translate the real thinkers like you into a playbook for the rest of us.

  • I wouldn’t say the Web site is irrelevant, but it’s less relevant every day. The future of brand >><< customer interactions is distributed, not centralized. Taking what you know and atomizing it, and spreading it across the social Web so that it intersects with your customers on the ground of their choosing, not yours. That's the future, and it's already happening. iPhone apps. Facebook apps. Videos. Slideshare. It's all pieces of content that formerly would have been housed exclusively on your .com kingdom.

    Yes, I still track visits to Web site from social media outposts, and highly recommend it (for now) as a success metric for most social media strategies. But, it won't be long before we're tracking transactions that occur WITHIN those social outposts. Lead gen on Facebook. E-commerce on YouTube. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Fragmentation of that nature is going to be a huge pain in the ass, but it creates colossal opportunity for companies willing to make the effort to spread themselves thin.

  • Cool! Send me a link to it when you’re done!

  • Maxiosearch

    Great advices Jay, thanks for sharing!

    I strongly believe that social media can enhance any business these days. Not being there is a great disadvantage, plus you´re losing control over your business and industry by not having a strong presence.

    I recommend entrepreneurs to join conversations!

  • Hi Jay,

    Thank you for this amazing article. I am just recently been disabled from facebook and most of my business was driven from facebook, so it has been a bit of a shock.
    I shall check out what you have said here and see if I can get things moving again. I had 1800 friends, and wow, I did not back that up…talk about learning the hard way.

    Thanks again! how does one sign up for your blog?


    Filomena Costa
    The Aletheia Group

  • Thank you for your post. Succinct and full of practical information. This is the kind of post that keeps me coming back to Social Media Examiner.

  • Excellent post. Hit the nail on the head

  • Doesn’t the title “question detective” sound cool? Not to mention a great way to hone your insights. I like the balance you portray in this article, Jay. Better to spend time working on realistic tactics than chasing unproven hype. Thanks!

  • Excellent post. Love question detective and video recommendations. Which camera would you recommend Kodak or Flip?

  • ericfontaine

    Hi, I am the Marketing Director at HeySpread.
    Thanks for this good article.
    That is true, Tubemogul is one service.

    But you should really have a look at HeySpread for Professional Video Analytics and Video Distribution – Far cheaper, with exclusive features such as YouClone (copy/paste your YouTube videos to any other platform automatically and in one shot), powerful and user-friendly interface, REST API for an easy and fast white label integration.

  • Hey Jay, great article. I see that I am getting the same questions from my clients regarding Spanish SMM. Im thinking of making either video or slideshare presentations (depending on the question) to give answers to the most common.

  • Great advice, thanks! I’ve started a company blog (and will soon be adding video) with ‘answers’. But I like the idea of clearly identifying top questions first in a more methodical way.

    As for the video portion, one of the answers I came up with was addressing DIY online video for beginners.

    For anyone following Jay’s advice on adding video, this blog post might be very helpful:

    You can also read or download an e-booklet with more details:


  • Gene Wicker Jr

    Could you site the reference for “Remember that video is 52 times more likely to show up on the first page of Google search results”? I’ve read numerous times that video will increase your rankings, but this is the first time I’ve seen a quoted value.

  • Great post Jay!

    When using sites like TubeMogul or Traffic Geyser, it’s important that the videos posted are keyword optimized using the free Google Keyword Tool that you discuss in #1. You can dominate the search engine with these keywords using video and drive more free traffic to the site.

    @drnatalie has seen more companies use social media for customer service during her time at Forrester Research.

    Keep up the awesome work!

  • Jay-I did a series of tutorial videos for our site ( have them living on youtube…as well as our home page of site. One thing we did NOT do was brand our site. We do NOT get alot of GOOGLE credit for these videos either. Why?
    Do you recommend having a banner that runs across the bottom or what is the LEAST expensive way to add your site info to brand videos you produce? Thanks for your insight and encouragement.

  • These are all great ideas, Jay, especially the Tube Mogul (video syndications) – Well done:)

  • Hi Vicki,

    I couldn’t find your videos on your website, and I searched around for a few minutes. However, when I searched for “warm biscuit” on YouTube, your tutorial about the leprechaun hat came up, as well as your sponsored link at the top of page.

    I love the idea of DIY tutorials – it’s more of a soft-sell approach and a great marketing tool to get to customers who love crafts, custom kids’ products, etc. Definitely seems to fit your brand well. Great job!

    Here’s what I noticed from looking at your vickibodwell YouTube page, and some ideas for increasing the branding opportunities for your videos:

    * Give the tutorial series a title with your biz name in it. Maybe something like “Warm Biscuit Bites” or “Warm Biscuit Playtime” or “Homemade Warm Biscuit”.
    * Then name each video starting with the title: “Warm Biscuit Playtime: Making Leprechaun Hats”
    * Make sure your tags for each video include your name, the name of the company, and other keywords like children, activities, DIY, or any other search terms that you associate with customers finding your business online. This is probably the main reason you’re not getting Google search results to Warm Biscuit – your business isn’t mentioned!
    * Put your Warm Biscuit url in the beginning of your video description (so it’s not invisible in the read more section).
    * Update your Vicki Bodwell profile with more info about Warm Biscuit.
    * You can also edit your video to add annotations. You can put one towards the end that links people back to your website. Maybe saying, “Love DIY projects for your children? Design your own custom bedding at Warm Biscuit!”

    Since these videos are several years old, but seem to be evergreen, you could try publicizing them again once you’ve upped the branding – through your e-newsletter, home page, Twitter, Facebook page, etc.

    I hope these suggestion help! Again, great job getting into video with some useful, fun content for your target customers.

    ~ Melissa

  • Hi Gene – Here’s some background I found on that stat:

    ~ Melissa

  • I strongly believe that social media can enlarge any business media these day but there is a great disadvantage, and you´re losing control over your business and industry by not having a strong presence. Although there is One of the key benefits of social media is its ability to resolve doubt and confusion among fence-sitters but prospective customers are uncertain.

  • Are your comments any different in local search for the 7 Box versus standard organic results in the main search engine with a local search enquiry
    If so, if you have done the 1-4 above what do you see as the #1 way to get listed hign in the 7Box given the large portion of search being local.

  • I love this website, I have never seen it before but I like it, its full of great tips.

  • Pingback: Online Marketing Videos: A Business Must-Have! | The Online Video Marketer()