Last week, the Central Intelligence Agency (@CIA) tweeted five reasons why we should follow them on Twitter. Click through these tabs to read each tweet. They’re quite entertaining:

Imagine figuring out the public relations and content marketing strategy for the CIA. How do you engage followers, increase your followers, and share content when you are known for undercover operations? You do what all good content marketers do. You create great content that captures the attention of your followers, and they find it compelling enough to share. It’s a balance between slipping in important messaging and knowing when not to take yourself too seriously.

This isn’t the first time the CIA has drawn the attention of the internet in less than 140 characters. Check out the first tweet ever published by the CIA, which was retweeted almost 300,000 times:

So, what’s the take-away lesson here? Well, share cat photos, of course. But beyond viral tweets about cats, know the platform you are using (in this case, Twitter) and know what stirs your followers’ interests (in this case, humor). In other words, be human. For starters, make sure that anyone who contributes to social media at your institution is on the same page. Social media strategy is something that needs to be talked about frequently—and in a serious manner. There’s no set-it-and-forget-it solution. Here’s a few things to consider:

  • Do you know your audience? I mean do you really understand how to read them at an emotional level? A consistent tone that aligns with the brand of your institution is imperative. One wrong tweet can have serious consequences and yet, at the same time, you don’t want to sound like a tweeting institutional robot. If you know your followers don’t like cat photos, why not share videos of water skiing squirrels?
  • Does your social media strategy fit into your integrated marketing plan? Think of your print publications, website user experience, online advertising, email communications, web traffic analytics, search engine optimization, landing pages, customer relationship management platform, and all of your events.
  • Do you know where to look or who to ask when you don’t know something? The rules of social media really aren’t all that different than a normal conversation. It’s rude to ignore someone, and if you don’t know the answer to their question, tell them you’ll find out or connect them with the person who can help.
  • And can you do all of this while remaining human, relatable, approachable, and not stretched to your physical and emotional—or budgetary—limits?

The Central Intelligence Agency understands that social media is part of any good content marketing strategy. You can make your content strategy smarter by responding to the social media world just as you would in real life, as people talking to real people. By the way, we cannot confirm or deny that we sometimes let cool cats tweet for us in our office.

Follow us on Twitter (@Stamats) for more content marketing stories and social media strategies to help you work smarter.

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