To business owners, the whole idea of content marketing and social media must be confusing. How do you know it’s working? Is there direct, measurable return on investment? What happens next?
In social media marketing, you always have to keep your eye on the end game: turning readers into revenue. Building and engaging your audience is an important part of a good digital marketing strategy, but it’s only the beginning.
We’ve been doing this long enough to know that social media isn’t the most direct sales tool, so why are we still doing it? Essentially, there is far more at stake in social media than sales.
When you use social media properly, you get to know potential customers, and they get to know you. You build trust and authority with your responses and build loyalty by getting personal (but not creepy). This may result in a sale today or years down the line.
Social media networks are noisy and chaotic. To stand out, you have to provide communication that gets attention, whether it’s tweets or content assets. Being clever isn’t enough. Your tweets, posts and images have to serve a purpose. Here are five tips to make it work:
- Your payoff is content: Social media is useless unless there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Your content is the cornerstone of your marketing. When you share graphics and engage in witty repartee, the purpose is to gain interest and to entice people to want to learn more. But while a great visual may get you lots of shares, it’s not going to convert customers. When they get to your site, your content has to be as interesting as the post that attracted them. While social media is often compared to fishing, people are not fish. A shiny lure might get their attention, but the hook has to be baited with the real thing or the fish swims away. Content is the real thing.
- Target your ads: Targeting can be tricky. You have to really know your audience. One of the most powerful and often overlooked weapons for brick-and-mortar businesses or event campaigns is Facebook’s local ad targeting. When you know who and where your potential customers are, the ROI on Facebook ads can be insane.
- Create an opt-in landing page: Build your email list with opt-in for your most valuable content. If you’ve targeted correctly and your content is excellent, most people will not mind handing over an email address. An effective landing page is the key to conversion.
- Integrate your email marketing: If you’re doing social media right, you’re encouraging readers to sign up for your email list, sending out targeted emails and offering valuable content. In addition, your emails should contain links back to your social media, in order to encourage Twitter followers to connect with you on Facebook or Instagram. Campaign Monitor calls integrating email marketing and social media taking a holistic view, the perfect description of an all-in marketing strategy.
- Be consistent: Being consistent isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Your potential audience might be people with a wide demographic range. Or worse, your brand might be a little too salty for some venues. My friend Erin Schultz private messaged me to ask, “Why would Facebook reject a promoted post with the word ‘fuck’ in the title? It’s for Kat Loterzo, and kick-ass language is her brand.” So how do you foster that consistency when you hit a roadblock? You may have to compromise. Schultz changed the title of the LinkedIn post she was promoting to get it past the censors.
Good strategy in action
I received an email from Social Quant that hit on almost all cylinders and missed on two points. The subject of the email was pure, targeted genius, “7 Insanely Easy Ways to Connect with Any Influencer.” How could I resist that? I clicked and found a pot of gold—meaty, interesting post filled with solid ideas. Loved it.
On the right side of the post, a box displayed an endorsement from Kim Garst, a well-known social media marketer—powerful social proof. I happen to be in the market to grow my social media presence, and there’s a pretty good chance this will earn my business. (Remember when I said social media may result in a sale years down the line?)
Where did Social Quant miss the mark?
- No links to social media in the email: I connected with the company on Twitter long ago and opted in to its mailing list based on the quality of its content, but I am far more active on Facebook. Am I going to drop everything and go search for it? Nah.
- Before I could read the content, I hit a “paywall”: Input my email address or it’s a no-go. This is a great idea but for one tiny detail. I’m already on the mailing list—obviously. My advice: custom landing page. I’d be less annoyed if I went straight to the content I came for, even if there were ads on the page.
The holistic approach to digital marketing
Think of social media, marketing and advertising campaigns, content, events and even event applications as parts of a whole—colors on a rainbow, roads to Rome, cogs in a machine—whatever analogy helps you visualize content marketing integration. When every aspect of your marketing strategy works together, it works.
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