Content has always been important to anyone promoting their small business online but the quality of Social Media content has often left something to be desired. That’s probably not too surprising as it has taken quite a change in mindset from pushing sales promotions to building social communities. It’s not so long ago that the only consideration given when writing content was making sales rather than starting a conversation.
The rapid growth of social media, and increased sophistication of search engines, means that we now need to focus our online marketing far more on serving up content that is geared to providing a much better user experience. Not only do we need to start an open conversation to build relationships and gain the trust of our customers but search engines increasingly give greater prominence to social platforms and the quality of the content when returning results. This can have a significant impact on SEO and search engine ranking.
The phrase “Content is King” has been heard almost everywhere for quite a while but creating and maintaining that fresh look can be a stumbling block for quite a few people. Small business owners and new starts in particular, can often struggle with the concept of finding good quality Social Media Content. So where do you start? Here are a few pointers on the Who, What, How and How Often of Social Media content to help you going in the right direction.
The biggest mistake that a lot of small business owners make is to try and advertise their wares online without consideration of who they are trying to sell it to. Before you even write one word of content it is important to think about who your ideal customer would be. Get as much of the demographics as possible down on paper to help you visualise that one specific person. Age group, location, occupation, gender, marital status, home owner, interests such as hobbies and sports, etc., etc. The more that you know about your ideal customer the easier it will be to start a conversation.
Now that you’ve identified your ideal customer you can start working on what you’d need to say to start building your community. Writing a nice long piece that addresses this customers needs is all well and good but, how are they going to find you? This is where search engine optimization comes into play. Investing in unique, quality Social Media content is essential for your online success. Google in its ranking algorithms gives preference to websites that regularly publish original good quality content. In addition, social mentions such as retweets, G+, Likes, Shares, etc. are now also taken into consideration.
Optimization of your content however shouldn’t detract from the quality of what you’re saying – it has to be optimized to allow the search engines to find it but it also has to be compelling enough so that your audience will enjoy reading and sharing it.
To promote your brand you need to leverage various relevant Social platforms. The most popular ones of course are Twitter and Facebook but there are several other options available that can boost your SEO – this could be blogs, LinkedIn, Pinterest, podcasts, webinars, etc. Also consider contributing in places such as social bookmarking sites and various review sites. This will all help to boost your online image and boost your search optimisation.
If you are a new-comer to online marketing than this may all sound almost overwhelming. The best thing to do, if in doubt about how to manage all this, is to outsource that task to a Social Media Manager.
4. How Often
Attracting the best and largest audience is basically a matter of timing. It will very much depend on your type of business but as a rule of thumb the best and most popular times tend to be: Early morning when people start their working day, lunch time and early evenings. Facebook Insights is one of the best tools to give you a good idea of how often and when visitors to your page interact with you. Keep track of these statistics and make sure that you always post during the optimum time for your business. In addition to timing, frequency is also important. You and your business need to be seen regularly if you want to build a community of loyal followers but don’t overdo it. Posting too often gives your content a spammy feeling and you will lose fans. As a general guide line, Tweet 3-10 times per day, Post to Facebook and Pinterest once or twice per day, LinkedIn and blog posts weekly and perhaps a monthly newsletter.
Some final notes:
Even if you believe that you are an expert in your field it is wise not to come across as a show off. Most people will resent it if you do because it can come across as condescending. Sharing your knowledge is a great way to establish relationships but the secret is in the word “sharing”. Talking with people, even online, in a friendly open manner opens the door to a two way conversation and that’s what this is all about.
Please always remember: There is nothing wrong with sharing someone else’s content but, if you do, always give credit to the author. It’s what you would expect others to do with your Social Media content so it’s only fair that you do the same.