Generate Content that Results in Leads, Links and Shares
Constant updates to search engine parameters, web technology, and media engagement means that “quality content marketing” is a moving target. A web strategy that would have rocketed your site to the top page of search results two years ago will barely move the needle now. So how are you to judge your content marketing, making sure that it creates links, leads, and shares on your social media platforms?
If you create it, they will come
You need to start with amazing content. There’s no way around this. No marketing strategy, ideal sharing time, or keyword optimization strategy is a substitute for high quality content. Is it important to post at the right time, use quality keywords, and make sure that you use known strategies like call to actions to tip customers into conversions? Of course it is. But no matter what you do to make your content look like a million bucks, if what the customer sees is ultimately spammy and low quality, they’re not going to share your link or decide to buy from your company. If they tell their friends about you, it’s not going to be complementary.
So how do you create amazing content? You start by being authentic. Yes, a blog serves a purpose in terms of sales, and if you can’t find anything that relates to your business to write about, you might be in the wrong line of work, but if you sell light bulbs, not every post has to be about lighting fixtures. You could write, for example, about the environmental reasons to choose LED bulbs, ways for customers to save on their electric bill, and the difference between the quality of light people want in their kitchen versus their den. Yes, you should consider factors such as keyword difficulty, your website’s search ranking, and whether or not you can relate the post to your business, but not every topic needs to be closely related, especially if you’re posting more often than once a month.
Know your platform
What works on Facebook feels out of place on Instagram and doesn’t even fit on Twitter. The ideal sharing time is different on every platform. People who post the exact same content on every social media platform without considering how best to showcase it are completely and totally missing the point.
There’s a reason that people use several social media platforms, and it’s not (just) so they have more places to look at cute cat pictures.
To be successful on social media, you need to understand each of the platforms that you use, determine how best to leverage your business on the platform, and develop a solid marketing strategy that is specific to the platform in question.
For example, a well known niche fountain pen company sends out an email newsletter each week showcasing new products and upcoming sales events, as well as posts about the company philosophy. On Facebook, they remind their customers about sales, as well as linking to posts about fountain pens and reviews from other companies. On Instagram, they post pictures of what their employees are doing throughout the day; packing up an order, testing a new ink, or photographing new content. On Youtube, they create video Q&As that review new products and answer questions from the community they’ve created. And on Twitter, they rapidly respond to questions about orders, products, and fountain pens in general.
Answering questions on Facebook has become cumbersome and frustrating. Posting pictures on Twitter is doable but can be cumbersome for viewers, depending on how they’re viewing your tweets. By leveraging the strength of each platform, this company is able to reach their community easily and effectively.
Don’t be afraid to do things differently
The rapid changes of social media and Internet searching mean that what works yesterday might not work today, and no one knows what will work tomorrow. Depending on how risk-averse you are, this can be incredibly intimidating, or incredibly exciting.
Just because something didn’t work the first time you tried it, don’t assume that it will never work. Often, a fresh idea can grow legs with some tweaks or twists. Don’t be afraid to try something completely new; you may find that it’s vastly more successful than you’d ever considered.
Listen to your customers; if you’re regularly hearing them say that they would love to see video tutorials from you, or get text message reminders of upcoming sales, or wish you had a loyalty app that would let them keep closer track of your business, hear them. Not every promotional method is worthwhile for every business, but if your customers are telling you how to reach them, it’s worth listening.
Promote your business without spending a fortune
As consumers and businesses, we often see incredibly high price tags for product launches and promotional marketing. While not every great marketing opportunity is free, businesses should carefully consider which ones to leverage and which ones to leave behind. If, for example, your business hardly ever gets Facebook views, don’t assume that paying for ads and promoted posts will increase engagement. Get creative! Scour the Internet for interesting tips to drive business, look at other businesses to see what they did that worked, and how it can be adapted for you, and consider how to do a better job of promoting the work you’re already doing, instead of assuming that throwing more money at the problem is the right answer.
Great content is the first, and most important step. Once you’re making content that creates engagement and excitement, your next steps are to leverage your platform and understand where you’re spending your marketing dollars. Follow other companies, both in your industry and outside of it, that get you interested and engaged. The odds are good that if they are capturing your interest, their strategies will capture the interest of your followers as well.
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