Content Marketing, Social Media Case Studies, Social Media Strategy, Blogging and Content Creation, Top 10

Using a Social FAQ to Kick Start Content Marketing

If you conquered four words, you’d have a better social media program than 90% of all companies. If you just utilized “thank you” and “I’m sorry” appropriately and often, you’d be in pretty good shape.

But getting to true sociability requires more than just replying to direct inquiry. You have to use content marketing to create information and stories that inform your customers and prospects.

This is especially true for companies that are inherently unsexy and don’t have a lot of existing social chatter about them. Remember that the less chatter there is about you, the more you need to create your own conversational opportunities.

You’re More Interesting Than You Think

When you have the initial conversation about content marketing, the “we don’t have anything interesting to say” argument often appears. But interesting is in the eye of the content consumer. Because the processes and realities of a company are routine and rote to its employees, they are fundamentally the worst arbiters of what’s interesting and what’s banal.

Build a Social FAQ

The best way to remove subjective bias and get started with content marketing is to create a social FAQ. Determine the questions that are asked about your company or category most often, and answer those questions in a multitude of formats.

holiday world logo.jpg 1500×993 Using a Social FAQ to Kick Start Content MarketingA terrific example of this approach is Holiday World & Splashing Safari, a family-owned amusement park located in Santa Claus, Indiana. Holiday World is just 90 minutes from my home in Bloomington, Indiana and we spent a great family day there last summer.

Holidog Using a Social FAQ to Kick Start Content MarketingIt’s called Holiday World because the Koch family has themed each area of the park after a different holiday. There’s Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, 4th of July, etc. The official mascot is Holidog, who is much cooler than a certain rodent ambassador about which you’ve no doubt heard.

In addition to being an exceptionally well run operation, Holiday World (and the attached Splashing Safari water park) are masters of the social FAQ. They have an innate understanding of what their customers want to know, and they deliver answers in a multitude of formats and tonalities.

For each major ride at the park (The Voyage wooden roller coaster, for example), there is a dedicated Web page that includes videos showing the entire ride (answering the important “how scary is it?” question). They also include awards, a fan poll of favorite features, ride facts, a park map, and tips for enjoying the ride. Plus, quotes from the park’s owner.

The Voyage Holiday World Social FAQ Using a Social FAQ to Kick Start Content Marketing
Now that’s how you do it.

If in the unlikely event you still have a question about The Voyage after reading that page, you can tweet HolidayWorld (where their real-time, human response is outstanding); use their iphone app; post a question to their Facebook page, or sometimes stumble upon some other cool content, like this video from owner Dan Koch talking about new developments.

(I love the deprecating annotations on the video)

Great job by the folks at Holiday World. What other good examples of social FAQs have you found?

Related
  • Joey Strawn

    Jay, this is a great post. It’s ironic to see this perfect example because we were just talking about this idea a few nights ago over drinks and Holiday World never entered my mind. I’ve heard their commercials for years and have always wanted to go, but now I want to visit even more. I touched on this idea in the post I told you about, Your Blog Is Boring Because You Suck At It (http://bit.ly/hppaTg), but I focused more on a blogging-centric aspect of it.

    I love the idea of the social FAQ because I’ve seen them fall off lately from webpages and that saddens. If I’m truly interested in learning everything I can about a business, the FAQ page is one of the first I’ll frequent. It doesn’t have to sound stuffy or professional, as long as it’s answering my questions. I’m as much of an advocate about “building relationships first” as anyone, but sometimes you just need to be clear and answer as many questions as you can for people.

  • Joey Strawn

    Jay, this is a great post. It’s ironic to see this perfect example because we were just talking about this idea a few nights ago over drinks and Holiday World never entered my mind. I’ve heard their commercials for years and have always wanted to go, but now I want to visit even more. I touched on this idea in the post I told you about, Your Blog Is Boring Because You Suck At It (http://bit.ly/hppaTg), but I focused more on a blogging-centric aspect of it.

    I love the idea of the social FAQ because I’ve seen them fall off lately from webpages and that saddens. If I’m truly interested in learning everything I can about a business, the FAQ page is one of the first I’ll frequent. It doesn’t have to sound stuffy or professional, as long as it’s answering my questions. I’m as much of an advocate about “building relationships first” as anyone, but sometimes you just need to be clear and answer as many questions as you can for people.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Sometimes it’s the “unsexy” stuff that makes the biggest difference, and Holiday World is bringing the sexy back to the FAQ.

      • Joey Strawn

        I don’t know, the lady who does the voice-over from their commercials might even be bringing the sexy back to radio ads too.

        • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

          I’ve never heard one of those, because I’m kind of a XM guy. I’ll see if I can find it somewhere!

          • Paula Werne, Holiday World

            Here’s a link to one of our past TV spots featuring Pat Koch, our matriarch: http://bit.ly/fj0Cpp. She turns 80 this year and will be thrilled with your line of thought. :0)

          • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

            Thanks Paula! Keep up the great work.

      • Joey Strawn

        I don’t know, the lady who does the voice-over from their commercials might even be bringing the sexy back to radio ads too.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Sometimes it’s the “unsexy” stuff that makes the biggest difference, and Holiday World is bringing the sexy back to the FAQ.

  • http://blog.socialmediahq.com Nick Robinson

    Awesome post Jay. I came across a Sonic Drive-In franchise owner that did a very good job of social faq. http://www.sonicofct.com. His site was packed full of info that I would be interested in (if I felt like going into a Sonic food coma).

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      It’s a terrific site Nick. Thanks for pointing it out!

  • http://holidayworld.com Paula Werne, Holiday World

    Wow. Thanks so much. Really. :0)
    Paula (the real-time human responder)

  • http://www.brainwads.net/drewhawkins Drew Hawkins

    I love Holiday World! Used to go there quite a bit growing up. Really cool to see that they are as active as they are online.

  • http://www.landscapeleadership.com Chris Heiler

    Thanks for the practical advice Jay.

    I’ve been posting short (2 minute) Q&A videos on my Facebook Page and blog recently of FAQ’s I’ve received while speaking at conferences, in forums, on Twitter, etc. I should have started doing this a long time ago–it’s such easy content to create, yet very relevant to the folks who follow what I do.

    Keep up the great work!

  • http://twitter.com/WritersKitchen Lorraine Thompson

    Love this post. Holiday World looks delightful–and all the more inviting after “meeting” the family that runs it.

    I happened to visit a site today that provided fantastic social FAQs: Paco Collars, purveyors of gorgeous, custom-made dog collars and leashes. In addition to dozens of photos modeled by the eponymous Paco the Pit Bull, the site features really terrific “Social FAQ” videos.

    The videos show the collars being hand crafted, introduce you to Paco Collar’s personable, inked craftsmen and give you a wonderful sense of the company’s, green, socially conscious, dog-loving company culture.

    The site seemed to anticipate my questions–some I didn’t even know I had.

    But I did have a few more queries–since I was interested in a custom-made collar of my own design. So I called Paco Collar. Here’s where their deep, authentic branding really showed: The phone was answered by owner, Ana Poe, who took time to respond to all of my questions and assure me the collar and leash I wanted could be custom-made at no extra charge.

    Guess where I’m buying my boxer’s collar? http://pacocollars.com/

  • http://twitter.com/malinsjoman Malin Sjöman

    Thanks Jay for an inspiring idea! Would you have any practical examples of B2B-companies using the social FAQ-concept? (At least we have quite some “inherently unsexy” products here…;) )

  • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

    Awesome. I love the Paco Collars example. Thanks so much for bringing it to light.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carmen.sognonvi Carmen Sognonvi

    When I was planning a vacation last year for my husband and our then 18-month-old, what I found frustrating was the lack of clear information on which rides and attractions would be suitable for her.

    I see that this park has a section on its website called “For the Little Ones” – which is EXACTLY what I had been looking for on the sites of these other amusement parks! Well done, Holiday World!

  • mixedherbs

    A very well written content marketing about you and prospects would draw customers towards you. however, writing lengthy content is not advisable short, brief and complete description about your company would definitely do the trick.

  • this.or.snailmail

    It would be awesome if Holiday World’s customer service could match their marketing and advertising prowess. My family had a small inconvenience and after speaking with guest services the same day and a manager the next day, we didn’t even get a “thank you for coming” or a “I’m sorry you had that experience.” I’m hoping with my third attempt, a written letter, that someone at the park will get back to the basics of “thank you” and “I’m sorry” and carry it with them into their social media success.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @this.or.snailmail It surprises me, as I’ve always had great experiences with them.

      • this.or.snailmail

        @JayBaer I was really surprised, too, since I’ve only heard good things. I was really disappointed since I love amusement parks and often get season passes. I’m new to the mid-west, so this was our first time at a park in this area. I offered a decent solution, but I got a lot of defensive excuses in return. “SHEESH, I’m not asking for a free day at the park guys! Just use some manners so we’ll come back!” I didn’t say that, but that’s essentially my message to them. :)

        • daduneverhad

          It’s probably worse when you raise expectations and then fail to meet them where “the rubber meets the road”, than if the customer never has any hope of having a superior experience.

          We have a fine-dining restaurant in town that ran a campaign to the effect “Why pay big bucks for great food if all you get is a mouthful?” – referring to the tiny portions at some restaurants, of course. We took the bait – and got *perhaps* an extra bite (of vegetables). Now, ask me if we’ve been back.

  • letstalkandchat

    i am back reading on your blog since ‘m new to this and i find your stuff very informative. thanks! anyway If you’re looking for webinar software, then check out Evergreen Business System. Its perfect for marketers and let’s you automate the scheduling of your webinars, build your list, and even follow up with your webinar registrants. If you’re going to buy Evergreen Business System, then you might as well get a free bonus! So check out http://www.mikelmurphy.com/evergreen-business-system-bonus-webinar-software/ and you’ll get a great bonus that tells you how to create a webinar, what is a webinar, and a blueprint for making a successful one. None of the other people offering bonuses are offering this. Hurry in case the guy (some dude that worked on Lord of the RIngs) offering the bonus decides to pull it down.