I think many website owners are confused about social media.
When they send their visitors to a social media site they think they’re doing a good job. I ask them: “Why on earth would you send your hard-earned visitors to Twitter and Facebook?” It doesn’t make sense. Your social media goal should always be to bring people to your site. Never the other way around.
You see lots of people dabbling in social media. When people do it well all the parts seem to fit logically… the pieces of the puzzle fit together. This is what a good social strategy feels like. So with this objective in mind, let’s take a few minutes to explore the elements of a good content marketing strategy.
START WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
Good social media marketers intimately know their audience. Early on I was told to start with an image of your website visitor and describe them focusing on their needs, dreams and fears. Then you will know them like your old Aunt Ethel and you can tailor your content just for them. It was good advice.
TARGET YOUR CONTENT
Once you know your audience, you can write to them like a personal letter, because you know their fears and dreams and can speak to them in their language.
Turn your single blog posts into a series of content based on a theme because this will stretch your topics further. Map out the meta-themes that you can explore over several weeks or months of posts. For example: If your chosen topic was photography then your themes might look like this:
- types of cameras,
- how to select the right camera,
- how to buy a camera based on different uses,
- how to start exploring your camera’s features,
- how to take awesome shots,
- how to edit shots.
As you see, these topics are broad and expand into several articles. Write post titles below each topic and watch your potential content building up before your eyes. Then start researching. Writing well-researched and original content will hold reader interest and keep them returning for more.
With an editorial plan complete you can approach sponsors who can make blogging financially rewarding for you. For example, if you are writing about camera brands you could approach camera manufacturers. When talking about purchasing a camera you might partner with a store for a give-away promotion. If the theme is photo-editing then there is bound to be a software company who would love to feature alongside your article.
BUILD A SOCIAL PRESENCE
Start by selecting the social platforms your audience use. The demographics and locations of your target audience will help you narrow the list down. Research social media and who uses what – it’s critical and this is why. China – for example – blocks Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Youtube and GMail. This means that the social sites that reach those in Hong Kong won’t reach people in Shanghai, Chengdu or Beijing who are all on Weibo or WeChat. And you will not find a Millennial on Twitter or Facebook… they will look up from their mobile, blink and go straight back to Snapchat because “only old people use Facebook!”
BRING THE AUDIENCE FROM SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR WEBSITE
Your social media goal is to bring people to your website. Use online tools to automatically post content summaries to social media. You just need to write great teasers to make people click through to your blog. Once they arrive, make it worthwhile with a feast of bold, original thought-provoking content… and the best pictures you can snap, borrow or buy.
MAKE IT EASY TO SHARE YOUR CONTENT
Encourage your readers to share your posts with their friends to increase your reach. Social buttons are the best way to do this. Configure the buttons to return the reader back to your site after sharing, because you don’t want to lose them after just one article! With millions of active blogs, even your most loyal readers need the occasional nudge. Subscriber options help you build a loyal readership because readers get an email each time you post.
INTERACT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
Be sophisticated and build a relationship with your audience. Timid articles that state the obvious are lame. Interact, pose questions and be controversial. Make it gritty, raw and passionate, then let people wrestle with your thoughts. Edgy writing gives readers a reason to comment and done well, it builds interest and stickiness and loyalty.