Its Gary O’Toole here with Sociocaster, over the past two weeks I have provided you with an in depth “Content Marketing 101” and given you all the knowledge you need to know to have a firm understanding of the foundations of content marketing.
In this blog post I am going to build on what we have looked at in the
“Content Marketing 101” and take it to the next stage by outlining how to create a social media plan which will we be the core element of your strategy. You will be using social media as the distribution channels for your content.
When posting content on social media its important to think about context. Context in social media, simply means positing appropriate content for the platform your using as a distribution channel. Please see below an example of what I am talking about:
Facebook – I like Mexican Food
Twitter – I am In A Mexican Restaurant
Linkedin – My Skills Include Cooking Mexican Food
Google + – I am A Spotify Employee Who Likes Mexican Food
Instagram – Here Is A Stunning Photo Of An Amazing Mexican Meal I Have Just Eaten
Youtube – Let Me Show You How To Cook Mexican Food
Pinterest – Heres Some Inspiration For Your Mexican Meal
Snapchat – Here Is A Story About Our Night At Mexican Restaurant
Vine – Mexican Food Is Awesome!
So hopefully now you have a clear idea of the differing contexts of each platform! I can not stress how important it is to grasp this concept as posting your content in the correct context, will definitely result in you having a much higher rate of engagement and overall success in your campaign!
Each of the social media platforms acts as a traffic source for our content hub as you can see in the mindmap below:
The idea is that we post content relevant to each platform with the view that our target audience will be engaged enough to click through and visit our content hub. Kissmetrics define a content hub as:
“A content hub is a destination where website visitors can find branded, curated, social media, user generated, or any type of content related to a topic”
You might be thinking “I own a website/blog – this is my content hub, right?” – it is entirely possible that your whole website might be a content hub (and in years to come this will increasingly become the case), however in general a content hub is a much smaller “microsites” which act as branded resource centers or knowledge bases.
Why would you want your whole website to be a content hub? Well quite simply – you are much more likely to generate traffic and valuable back links, if every page on your website contains useful information. Think about it, why would anyone want to link to a page that simply describes a service you offer (like everyone else in your industry) – its not interesting and most cases its completely useless to the visitor.
However if every page in the services section included, valuable information (hints/tips/tricks) and explained the processes you use, transparently and in a way that others can learn form – its suddenly very useful to a lot of people and will start to get you more traffic and backlinks!
Having a social media plan significantly increases your overall brand visibility and also provides several more points of contact, where your followers/target audience are able to connect with you and “start the conversation”.
So lets move on and look at how we can create social media plan that is going enable your content marketing strategy to be a success.
Consistency Is King!
You have probably heard the phrase “content is king” – the truth is consistency is king. A successful social campaign always consists of these three elements:
- Regular Posts (IE: Daily/Weekly – Depending On The Platform)
- Quality Posts (IE: Each Post Should Contain Value)
- Consistent Posts (IE: Each Post Should Be Formatted/Styled/Branded – The Same)
The easiest way to think about this is to start by looking at what doesn’t work. And for that we have any number of examples from companies all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The issue for these businesses is that they often focus on just one thing: promoting their products and services. They create their social media account, they do a token offer to encourage people to follow them and then they just sporadically post messages like:
- Tommo’s Pizza Is The Best In Town
- Daves Used Cars: Get A New Ride Today
- New Yorks #1 Phone Unlocking Service
These kind of Tweets/Fanpage updates are extremely boring – they are what is known as “Interruption advertising“. Interruption advertising – interrupts whatever you are doing (IE: listening to the radio/watching TV) and shouts out a self serving message that is totally irrelevant to your current situation.
In the context of social media they interrupt your news feed with something that delivers you no value – this kind of marketing is totally worthless. In this day and age people are too desensitized to this kind of interruption for it to have any effect what so ever – its completely pointless and waste of time and resources.
Think About It – Would You Follow That Kind of Account? NO.
You have to bare in mind that competition is extremely fierce – marketers (and business owners) are getting smarter, more creative and more innovative all of the time, those kind of tactics will fail to create any engagement and will most likely cause existing followers to unfollow.
You need to give your audience something that they can engage with, something that inspires, drives action and creates interesting conversations (and debates)! You would never just walk up to a random person on the street and shout “My Pizza Parlour Is #1 In This Town” – at best you would be met with a bemused look before they quickly ran away! However if you were handing out flyers – you could approach people asking them “Hey do you like pizza?” to which I am guessing most would respond “Yes” – there you go you have broken the ice!
Once the conversation has started you need to get them interested in trying your pizza – but how? I recommend creating an offer that fits in with each of the platforms we have talked about – here are some example ideas:
Facebook – Check In To Recieve 10% Of Your Bill
Twitter – Tweet Us To Recieve 10 % of Your Bill
Instagram – Give Us A Shout Out for 10% of Your Bill
Snapchat – Read Our Story To Get The 10% Voucher Coupon
Think about the brands and the pages you are following on Facebook and most likely you’ll find that they’re brands and pages that regularly post content that you find interesting. If you’re into cooking pizza then you’ll enjoy
getting cool recipe ideas and if you’re into music then maybe you follow a Twitter account that posts free music events in your city. In other words, there’s something in it for you and you’re receiving value.
What Exactly Is “Value” ?
I often talk a lot about “giving value” – this is simply providing something for free that will be perceived as useful for valuable to your target audience. I have created a simple mindmap to give you some further insight, into ways you can provide value to your audience:
Of course these are just a few examples and could include tons of other things such as downloadable PDF’s of your blog posts (to read offline or print off – ideal for how to guide), eBooks, Podcasts, creative resources (such as images or template) or even a free consultation over Skype! The possibilities are endless and you will be required to use some imagination (and testing) to see what would work in your particular situation.
That value can come in the form of entertainment, it can come in the form of information or it can come in the form of discounts. Either way though, you’re getting something consistent and in that way you can feel almost as
though the social account is providing you with a service. If a social media page is managed well, then people should be anxious when it goes for a long time without any new updates.
Why Consistency Is King:
Let’s imagine an example focused on a national chain of car mechanics. Now if the chain were to use the same social strategy as 99% of the other insurance companies, then it would probably just post regularly about how people need to look after their car and how they have the best rates. That’s not great and no one is going to want to follow that!
So instead, a smart chain might identify its specialist niche in the market. In this case, we’re going to say that it’s targeting parents with kids.
The primary parent is generally women and Pinterest is a social media platform that appeals to women more than men, this might be a good place to focus on that wouldn’t be too much competition. Now, instead of just trying to straight up pitch on Pinterest , the company instead makes the decision to provide a real, useful service on that
platform. It creates a blog that talks about the challenges of being a parent and it also uses Pinterest as a place to post images that suggest activities for young families that can be traveled to by car!
The images posts promote and inspire a fulfilling family life, but simultaneously, they’re helpful in that they offer useful advice. If people see these pictures and like them, they’ll follow and enage And because the account is delivering consistent quality, they’ll stay following, share that content and look out for future posts.
Eventually when the audience has been grown to a sufficient size and you have delivered high quality consistently you can start to offer the audience a deal IE: “20% off all tires during the school holidays” and you will see a great level of response. Its simple really – you have taken the time to get to know your audience, you have related to them on an a personal level and now your offering them something that is going to save them money at a time of year when they will more than likely do a lot more driving (an wearing their tires) than usual! If they were going to get their tires replaces anyway – why would they not want to go for the 20% off deal and become your customer?
Once they are your customer they are in your sales funnel and it is much easier to sell to them in future as the hard part of building rapport and converting them from prospect to customer has already been done!
What Is The Best Way To Post Consistently?
As I have just explained posting high quality content consistently is the key your success, but how can we post consistently when you have a business to run and a 101 things to do? You have two options either hire an assistant ( or Virtual assistant) or to use software to schedule and automate the process.
There are many great options available in the market place today, however many of them come with a monthly fee that add up over time. As brand ambassador I highly recommend Sociocaster as it is the perfect solution for managing and automating your social media campaigns on:
- Facebook (Profiles/Fanpages/Groups)
- Linkedin (Profiles/Company Pages)
- WordPress (Self Hosted Blogs)
I became the Sociocaster brand ambassador after being an early adopter of this tool and being in the Facebook group back when it was released. I was a raving fan of the tool from the start and when the chance came up to work with Sociocaster – I jumped at it!
Sociocaster will let you schedule and automate all of your posts on the platforms I have just mentioned – this leaves you free to conduct other tasks within your business. Sociocaster also features tons of other time saving features such as rapid content discovery and a high quality built in image editor.
Take a look at this video I posted previously – it shows you how easy it is to get started with Sociocaster!
I hope you find this post useful and I will be back on Wednesday with another in depth blog post!
Have A Great Week,