Many companies and marketers grapple with how to use social media to convey messages effectively in order to increase customers’ awareness of their brand, engagement with their content, and investment in the products or services that are on offer. What many social media marketers fail to do is to utilize two basic responses in their marketing program: ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’. These basic replies to customer queries are the foundation of a strong relationship between your potential audience and your brand: that is, acknowledging and accepting responsibility for mistakes when they occur, and fully appreciating your audience, in all its diversity.

However, creating a truly sociable brand requires more than simply responding to such direct inquiries. Marketers and brands must also use the capacities of social media to create sources of information and compelling stories which will inform your potential audience. For brands which are not inherently ‘social’, youthful and hype-generating, brands which do not naturally transfer to the social media environment and would not otherwise be discussed on Facebook or Twitter except in the most mundane of contexts, it is of primary importance to start these conversations. Generating opportunities for conversations with your customers is crucial to making social media work for you.

Some brands are troubled by content marketing because they believe that they have little of interest to say to customers. However, it is important to recognize that a company’s day-to-day realities and processes are, of course, routine to those employed by it, and so they cannot judge what ‘interesting’ content will be. It is important to consider the type of information a customer would wish to have if they were wholly unfamiliar with your brand. What questions might they have about how your service or product works? What information would they want to know about working with your brand?

The best and easiest way to get started with content marketing is to start creating a social Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. By recognizing common questions asked about your company, brand or product, and answering these questions in diverse formats, you can create opportunities for social engagement.

FAQ pages are highly effective for SEO. An FAQ page answers your audience’s questions using the language that your customers use most frequently – that is, the keywords that they most often type into search engines such as Google or Bing. Therefore, FAQ pages are content rich pages which will drive traffic to your company’s page. However, it is important to remember that FAQ pages are not merely ‘filler’ content – they are an important aspect of your social brand, and should be educational and helpful.

Creating a FAQ page will also help to redefine your social media strategy. By thinking about the kind of information that your customers will search for, you can better anticipate the kind of media and content that will engage their interest, and how to position it. They are also one of the easiest forms of content to produce, can be put together quickly, and updated as frequently as necessary. Many social media brands update and refine their FAQ pages every week in response to new inquiries from customers, or new developments in the company.

FAQ pages can also be used to drive customers toward a particular action. A good FAQ page will provide your customers with a clear path to the next steps you wish them to take: read more about a product engage with you on social media websites, share your content, get further information on a particular aspect of your company’s offerings. Readers will quickly learn to turn to the FAQ for information. Question and answer pages are comforting because they help to form readers’ expectations of your company, and can be skimmed quickly for the information that they need. FAQ pages are highly useful because they can raise questions (and provide answers) about your brand that customers may have not thought to ask, which will help to emphasize how your brand is different.

Sam is a contributing writer for QuickSprout and is also a freelance internet marketing blogger.