Social media is a powerful modern business tool. Most businesses realise by now that if you’re not active on social media, you are way behind the game and have lots to do if you want to get involved now and catch up. However, irrespective of what the doom-mongers may say, if you’re only just starting your business social media accounts in 2014, you do have the opportunity to make a splash in the social media ocean.
Most people look at the digital marketing industry and believe that content marketing and social media are separate. The reality is that social media is a type of content in and of itself, but the separation still exists because most people would associate content with things like articles, blogs, case studies, and white papers.
There are various types of content that you should be promoting via social media. You should be aware that seeing social media success is dependent on your whole content marketing plan being a well-oiled machine. Social media should be a constant, everyday initiative, but it shouldn’t become the only thing in your strategy that you use as a fall back whenever you don’t create the blogs or resource content that you were supposed to.
What should your content plan look like for social media? If you need a social media editorial calendar, put one together or include it within your regular content plan.
What content should you be promoting via social media?
This is probably the thing that is most forgotten about, which is ironic as it is the easiest thing to do. Whether it is industry news or tips related to your products or services, you need to make sure you have a healthy percentage of standalone social content making its way onto your feeds. In addition to news and tips, it is wise to engage in general conversational topics with your social audience, too, such as the weather and other current affairs. Avoid getting involved in politics or other potentially controversial areas, but by all means use social media as a conversational tool.
There’s nothing worse on social media than a business that only spurts out updates and links but doesn’t actually engage with their audience. Engaging with your audience in terms of responding to queries is one thing, but to take your audience’s love for you to the next level you really need to be following some of them and sharing their content on a semi-regular basis.
After businesses that don’t share their audience’s content, businesses that only share their own on site content and not that of others – in a way that says “only our content exists and is better than anything ever” – are close behind in the “worst of social media” stakes.
Just like you would link to a high quality article for a blog or article on your own website, if there’s something that’s brilliant from one of your competitors, share it! Far better to do that than try to put your own spin on it (unless you disagree with an editorial viewpoint and want to directly address it yourself) and fail miserably.
Content shares aren’t forgotten, either, and if you share high quality content on your social media feeds you can expect other businesses to return the favour at some point down the line.
Finally we come to your own content. Many businesses make the mistake of linking to all their content via social media, but the reality is that your audience wants more than just a series of links to your content.
One trick is to think about how you can add variety to your content, which will aid your wider content strategy as well as satisfy your needs in respect of social media. Visual media, in particular, is powerful, as statistics show that images and videos are the most shared types of content, even outstripping infographics, which would come as a surprise to many people.
In terms of tailoring your content to different social platforms, you need to think about the specific audience you have on each site. For example, someone who checks their Twitter or Facebook account on the way to work is unlikely to want to read a 1,000 word case study related to your industry, but someone who uses LinkedIn during their lunch break or in the evenings probably would. You don’t need to look too much at your specific industry or audience, just keep it simple and think about the reasons people use particular social media websites, and how you can tailor your strategy to fit within this.
Ensure you are promoting the best variety of content via social media, and you’ll find traffic to your website increasing as a result of your activity.