Content is king. You’ve already heard this and so has everyone else. That’s why content marketing is becoming a highly competitive space.
Over 70% of marketers plan to create, distribute and promote more content this year compared to 2016, according to CMI.
In fact, content has become so dominant almost one-third of marketing department are now reducing their advertising budgets in favor of more content.
With all the competition ahead, it’s time to step up your game. Finding out what’s not working in your social content distribution strategy is the first step to doing so.
And you know something is missing if your content lacks in reach (social shares) engagement (comments, likes, etc.), people don’t click on your links or you don’t convert enough leads.
If that’s the case, or you’re generally looking to kick ass and reach the heights of content marketing greatness, you may want to add one of the following ingredients to your content marketing plan.
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”
Have a consistent brand message
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic,” says Seth Godin.
This statement holds true on social media more than anywhere else. To connect with your ideal audience, you want to have a clear company story and communicate it well.
What’s your “why” and how does it relate to your followers? What’s the mission and purpose of your business?
Consistency doesn’t end with your story however. You want to set a tone with your content so it reflects your brand. Is your brand relaxed, professional, sophisticated or outgoing and humorous?
Maintain that tone over the long term and your followers will feel a personal connection with your brand and your business.
Segment your content for social media platforms
While you want to keep a consistent message, different social media platforms have different tones and different audiences. To post the same message with the same hashtags across all platforms isn’t an efficient approach.
- Facebook: Facebook sends out a lot of traffic. More than any other network. Since it’s geared towards news and entertainment you want to keep your content light and entertaining. And video content performs the best here.
- Twitter: Twitter is more a news platform. Curation and retweeting is thus encouraged here. You definitely want to focus trending hashtags and topics.
- LinkedIn: Professional network where industry articles, interesting data and short, to-the-point sentences go a long way.
- Instagram: A platform well suited for visual brands. Pictures, call-out quotes and short videos are doing well here.
- Pinterest: Also great for visual brands as it’s completely geared towards imagery. Most users look for inspiration here.
But don’t forget to focus
In any case, with all the different networks, one thing you want to do is to double down on the ones that deliver the best results. Apply the 80/20 rule.
One of the ways to choose your 80/20 network is to look at your user behavior and your brand message. Where is your ideal audience hanging out? And how does the character of that platform fit with your brand message and story?
Luke Kintigh, Intel’s Global Content Strategist, also speaks about the 10/90 rule – that 10% of content drives 90% of traffic and engagement. That makes it vital to “find that 10% early and often.”
Then there’s ROI. You want to look at the networks that give you the best bang for the buck. Conversion and engagement is one way to look at it, but also ask yourself which network allows you to churn out a lot of great content in the most frictionless way.
Learn more about your audience
In the age of big data, learning more about your audience is definitely something that creates a competitive edge. It’s now easier than ever before.
If your social media strategy is focused on delivering ROI, then you must not only know who your ideal prospects are but learn about the context in which the conversions happen.
Create a detailed profile of your ideal follower and know who they are. Again, the 80/20 rule goes a long way here. Instead of trying to convert everyone, determine who gives you top ROI, get to know them and double down on that segment. Social listening to find the people interested in your offering is indispensable here.
Moreover, you want to understand what their buying journey is like. At which point has your content reached them? Use that information to tighten up your conversion funnel and get better results.
Pick ‘pull’ over the ‘push’ approach
AdBlock reached a quarter of a billion users last year. That’s a clear sign that most people are simply tired of all the commercial distraction coming in the form of advertising.
The consumer sentiment has shifted. ‘Push’ marketing, that is reaching out to audiences in order to get them to your website is no longer the top option to bank on as a recent study by Forrester1 suggests.
Pull marketing, on the other hand, is about letting customers seek your product out. They way to do this is to focus on offering so much value through the content you create and share they’ll develop trust and the need to get the more value in using your product.
Double down on video this year
Video is exploding right now. The consumption of it has been growing steadily over the years but it’s fair to say it’s about to become the biggest marketing trend of 2017.
Just look at the social media landscape. People love to watch video content.
Snapchat has over 100 million daily active users and just announced an IPO. Periscope has reached way over 200 million broadcasts to date. Then there’s Facebook and Instagram. Both platforms have made a dramatic shift towards video and live video content. And it’s paying off.
Spend more on retargeting
You’ve spent all that effort to identify and target the right audience with the right content. Yet you still only convert about 5% of it. Don’t lose the other 95%.
While retargeting isn’t anything new, it continues to evolve and deliver better and better results. And social media networks offer some of the best capabilities to retarget your audiences.
In fact, even LinkedIn has recently released its own early version of Facebook’s Custom Audiences.
Keep all teams and departments on the same page
One thing a lot of businesses don’t get is that sales and marketing departments work much better when they work together.
The same applies on a much smaller scale. The way a lot of marketing departments work is that there are many teams, each working a different thing and not necessarily rowing in the same direction.
These sales and marketing department ‘silos’ then lead to a loss of productivity as well as revenues.
If you can get your PPC (pay per click) team, your content marketing team, your salespeople, and so on, on the same page instead of working independently you may end up with an ultimate competitive advantage.
For that, content calendar software is crucial. You simply can’t achieve the necessary level of synergy with spreadsheets and email chains. These are no longer just marketing tools. Anyone with any stake in content, including external agencies, can be given access.
Stay up to date
The above ingredients are just a tips to mix things up and get your strategy more on point. One thing you definitely want to do is to keep educating yourself and your team.
Knowledge is power and so is being ahead of the curve. Follow the trends, track your follower behavior and collect data to back your actions.
The world is evolving and so are the audience demographics. What worked yesterday may not work today. So stay up to date and keep improving!
1Get Customer-Obsessed With Your Content Marketing Processes, Forrester Research, Inc., October 27, 2016