With every business sharing and posting social content to engage with people and promote their product or service. You have to ask the question is anyone really listening ?
Perhaps you are a website owner or a Marketeer who has been tasked with ‘raising the online profile’ of the business. Having sat through a positive marketing meeting outlining the steps needed to form an online marketing strategy. It’s clear that you need to be creating quality content and then letting people know about this via the various social media channels. Content is without doubt the first step in building your social reach, create the content, then use social media to tell people about it and drive traffic to your article.
But with statistics like below, is it any wonder that being heard through this sea of noise can feel like an imposing, impossible task.
It is therefore no surprise that much of what is written can be overlooked, as individuals we just can’t consume and keep up with the sheer amount of information being published every day. In our own lifetime, it is impossible to see it all. Although I still find it incredible that the same cat videos seems to do the rounds on Facebook year upon year!
So how many times have you posted a tweet, which is then lost in cyberspace, hardly a single like or share. Very little engagement at all which can be very disheartening, especially when you have put a lot of effort into the content you are drawing attention to.
Writing engaging content is a topic in its’ own right, so let’s assume you have been putting some serious hours into a quality, well informed, well researched and beautifully presented content. It looks great and reads well, the ‘team’ are all in agreement it’s a great piece of writing and really helps get the message across. So the question now is, what do you do with it.
So with hours, or possibly even days of effort being put into the article, you want to make sure it receives as much readership and ‘eyes-on’ as possible. If you already have a website that benefits from good traffic, then great, posting it on your website blog is a natural first step. But for those that are looking to grow an audience because they are lacking traffic, simply posting an article on your own website will not yield much traction.
So this is where you have to look towards ‘off-site’ promotion.
I have spent endless hours researching, reading and digesting articles about best practices on writing content and using social channels to promote content. This research has led me to believe there are 2 main factors that help you to be heard above the chatter of social media.
1. Be creative with both content and your headlines.
2. Add value, giveaway your experience, don’t sell.
If you want to be heard, you need to be doing a minimum of these two things, and doing them well. There are many nuances to this, and there is much written about the finer details, perhaps some topics for a later date. You also have to take into account your market sector and target audience; are you selling a service or a product, are you trying to establish a brand or find an angle for selling a product with a competitive market.
Sometimes you can take a step too far, trying to be too wacky or ‘off-the-wall’, so much so you miss the point completely. A shock and awe tactic that may gain a spike of interest but only to most likely the wrong audience. A tactic that often adds no real value and rarely helps grown an audience.
Here are two examples that highlight an approach to a social post on the topic of keeping your website secure and safe from attempted hacks
Example a) Read our article here on ways to avoid being hacked…
Example b) You’re being hacked, you just don’t know it…
You can probably see straight away, that example (a) is lacking any real call to action or headline that draws you in. It is factually correct and clear about what the social post is linking to, but in no way grabs a viewers attention to want click. If you look at example (b), this headline is teasing the viewer, making a bold statement of something that could really impact on their business. Example (b) is more likely to spark some interest and encourage them to want to click on the link and read the article.
But remember, whilst you want to create an eye-catching headline or social post, you don’t want to be heavily mis-leading the viewer. Whilst this may increase your viewer traffic, it certainly won’t lead to a good user experience which in turn could bite back.
Adding value by giving away useful insights, how to’s and best practices is a great way to create content. Drawing upon yours or your companies’ own experiences makes content very personal and relatable. Explaining how you tackled a specific problem, the challenges you faced and how you resolved these can strike a chord with your audience. Within this you are giving away useful information on how you tackled things which may benefit them in a situation they are facing.
Another good tactic is to write two articles about the same topic but from two different perspectives, for example; writing an article on steps to take to prevent being hacked, followed by an article on steps you can take if you have been hacked.
Constantly promoting products and services can become tiresome for your audience. Whilst it’s fine to be doing this occasionally, you need to mix this in with other types of useful content as mentioned above. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you are constantly being sold to, this encourages people to stop following you socially as they feel there is no value being added.
Best places to post your content.
If you have good traffic to your website, then posting into your own blog is a great first step. Alternatively if you are looking to tap into a wider audience, then you could look to post an article on a website such as Medium.com . This website already has the traffic you much need, posting an article into their site gives you potentially more scope to be seen. In 2016 Medium received around 60 Million visitors per month, in 2019 this has grown to over 200 Million visitors. So that’s a lot of potential viewers, but guess what, you’re not the only one posting content. The competition is high but the rewards are potentially greater than posting to your own website first. The key thing is to create good content; a well written article with plenty of thought and time spent will without doubt do better than a blatant attempt to simply drive traffic.
I have read mixed feelings about whether to post the article in multiple locations. There is much talk about duplicate content, much of which dates back to the good old days of SEO. Duplication within your own website should be avoided as much as possible, not that it has a hugely negative impact on your website, it’s just more likely to be ignored by Google bots as it adds no value or benefit to SEO. So large amounts of duplicate content within a website certainly has no benefit and could be seen as spammy or even lazy.
Posting the same article to different websites in all reality is not going to work negatively against you, within moderation. Bots are sophistical enough these days to accept that the same content can appear in multiple locations, it looks at many factors to decide whether this is trying to ‘trick’ a result.
A strategy worth employing is to place the article with your own website, on Medium.com and Linkedin. Post them a week apart, making sure you place the article on the site where you want to give initial importance to. This doesn’t always mean your website blog comes first, in some cases building authority for your article on websites like Medium can work for you equally as well, as you have the added benefit of building an audience quicker.
How to make use of the socials
So once the article is posted, there are many social networks you can sign-post to your article. Doing them all would be a huge waste of time, instead focus on the social networks that have the right audience for your product or service. There may even be very niche social groups that are ideal for your content, that you can target with hashtags, or post directly into the group.
At minimum you should be posting content to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin. As mentioned earlier, be creative with your headlines and short descriptions. Tease the viewer, grab their attention, as social feeds can scroll past in a blink ad attention spans are short.
Re-post more than once, studies have shown that posting 3 times a day is a good place to start; morning, mid-day and evening; as viewers may have skipped past your post earlier but you may grab their attention, 2nd, 3rd or 4th time around. Again, don’t be too spammy, try different times of days on and off for a week or so to see what works well. Even try different headlines and descriptions, see which works best. And as with all things marketing related, analyse the heck out of it. Keep records and track your activity, learn from your mistakes and build upon your successes, and over time you will have built a stable growth and reach of your social network.
In answer to my opening statement, is anyone actually really listening. I think the answer is; provided you tailor your social marketing and target the right audiences, then eventually you can get through the noise and start to grow your social audience. It’s a slow process and requires persistence, creativity and a willingness to adapt.
Make your content engaging and relatable, give away your experience, help and advice, make the viewer feel they have gained real value from reading your post. Use the main social networks to sign-post users to your article, but be creative with your headlines and descriptions. Create artwork to visually grab the users scanning through social posts and post regularly and often to keep momentum.
This information is written to guide you, and is based on my own research and experiences. As with anything ‘online marketing’ relating there are many many views and opinions, best practices and tips. The key thing is to take on-board what you need, apply this to your own circumstances, learn adapt and keep at it.
If you are looking for advice on how to create good content and make best use of social media, then get in touch with our ecommerce experts
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