Small businesses face big challenges when it comes to content marketing. How can you make an impact with such overwhelming competition?
The web is flooded with content, making it increasingly harder for a small business to get attention. The good news is, you can. The keys to an effective, economical content strategy are knowledge, targeting your audience, and getting the word out. Here’s how Twitter can help even a small business succeed.
Let’s get the most obvious point out of the way: Your content must be excellent. It can be hard to produce huge volumes of great content in-house, and expensive to outsource.
The best source of information about your business is you. You have the passion, the knowledge, and the drive, right? It’s just a matter of finding a way to share it. Not every great business person is a great writer, and even fewer have graphic art skills.
One answer is a hybrid approach. Hire a talented content writer to write a big piece of long-form content once or twice a year. Base it on current data – a customer survey, case studies, or data trends. Answer industry-related questions. Give your writer plenty of information to work with and the direction you’d like the content to take.
The most common mistake non-professional writers make is lack of focus. Your instinct is going to be a giant brain-dump. Resist it. Your topic can’t be too broad or too narrow, and it has to have an absolutely killer title.
It can be expensive to produce an ebook, white paper, or report, so what you do next is important. The original content becomes your incentive to sign up for your mailing list, and it also boosts your
It also serves as the basis for dozens of other pieces of content, such as blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, Slideshare presentations, and more. Expensive long content becomes more economical as you pull it apart to make new content and share it with new audiences on different platforms.
Build a Targeted Twitter Following
Remarkably few big businesses are proactive on social media. That’s where a small business can really shine. Rather than put your account out there and expect people to find you, you can go looking for the kind of people who will do your business the most good. Since you don’t want to spend a lot of time researching followers, you’ll need a step-by-step plan and some automation.
- Profile your ideal customer. Is your buyer a young mom with small children? A C-Suite exec who travels a lot? An avid cyclist? Does he work for a plastics manufacturer? Is she local, in your country, or global? Knowing exactly who your customer is will help you connect.
- Make a list of industry keywords. People include keywords in their bios, and that makes them much easier to identify. With a customer profile and a list of keywords, you can find up to a thousand targeted people to follow per day (the Twitter limit) in minutes with a social media lead generation such as Socedo. You’ll be able to build an engaged following much faster, and you can even set an automated welcome response for when they follow you back.
- Keep your list clean. Many people, if not most, will follow you back. If they don’t, you’ll need to cull your list now and then. Twitter allows you to follow a maximum of 5000 people, no questions asked. After that, it gets complicated. You hit a limit based on the ratio of following to followers. The best defense is to be picky. Don’t automatically follow everyone who follows you, and remove inactive followers and people who did not follow you back. Crowdfire is a great tool for list-cleaning.
One of the most effective ways to market online is by growing your social media contacts. Twitter is the easiest and most direct way to connect. From there, invite followers to connect to your other social accounts, where you can share content in different formats and reach different audiences.
The definition of amplification in marketing is essentially spreading the word. For your content to be successful, people have to learn about it. To achieve amplification, you need to engage people willing to help you…industry influencers, experts, reviewers, and satisfied customers.
Influencers are people with an audience willing to share your content. Shortcut the discovery process by finding people who engage your competitors. When influencers share your content, they add an implicit stamp or approval. Their followers will be more inclined to read content shared by people they trust.
Set the Tone
Small businesses have the luxury of building a more personal relationship with their customers and followers, and it can be a big advantage in the war for consumer attention. Where big business is faceless and either inconsistent or robotic, you can be warm, welcoming, and personable with a limited number of reps interacting with your following.
Set the tone for engagement with a loose set of rules (no profanity, positive comments…obvious guidelines) and then allow your people to be personable and friendly. Encourage them to get involved in industry-related conversations and stay out of personal lives and tragedies that don’t involve your company.
Twitter isn’t the only social media channel you should consider, but it is one of the most dominant, with more than 320 million active users. Relatively low information share allows users to let their guards down enough to talk to strangers, unlike Facebook or Linkedin, where their entire lives may be on display. Since they aren’t risking access to private information, most Twitter users are more open to new contacts and random conversations.
Always remember to give more than you get. It’s tempting to spend all your social media time advertising your goods and services, but it’s not productive. Instead, retweet or feature your customers, and offer support, encouragement, and words of wisdom where appropriate. When you make customers the star of your social media show, you win.
Images “ Johor, Malaysia – Jun 17, 2014: Follow us on Twitter icon on computer screen, Twitter is a popular free social networking website in the world, Jun 17, 2014 in Johor, Malaysia. / Shutterstock.com“
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