Sunday, February 14, 2016

Part 2 of "Social Media for the Small Business Owner" - Content

Originally I was going to answer "What, How, and When" in this post, but on the advice from some of the experts, I have decided to break these up into 3 separate parts. A big reason why I'm doing it this way is that understanding content and content creation is a HUGE part of your social media strategy. To simplify this topic too much and not cover all of the basics would not be in anyone's best interest.

What is content?

Content is by far the most valuable asset your business can use, to not only engage and inform customers, but to increase traffic to your website and dramatically improve search rankings. But what is "content"? Bryan Eisenberg (Facebook) describes content like this:
"Think of Web content as the public conversation that happens between you and the visitor, whether the conversation is one-way (from you to the visitor), two-way (between the visitor and you), or conversation among visitors."
So basically, any information which is engaging, relevant, reliable, interesting, entertaining or enlightening in the form of text, image, video or audio can be considered "content".

What Content to Share

In Part 1, we discussed the importance of creating a customer profile and knowing what your customer needs. Your content should be based on what your audience finds relevant, solves their problem, or satisfies their needs. The media choice (blog, Tweet, video, infographic) will depend on the channel you are broadcasting your message within (Where your audience is - Twitter, YouTube, Facebook).

Content marketing experts agree on a few basic practices when creating your content:
  • QUALITY, not quantity wins! - Even if you only post content once a week, make sure it's information your audience wants. Throwing irrelevant junk at them every 3 hours is going to lose you a large portion of your followers!
  • SPEAK to your audience - Have a voice when it comes to your content. Tell a story, make them laugh, be engaging - that is what will keep them coming back for more.
  • CREATE in your own style - Everyone has a style. Be funny, witty, analytical - whatever your personal style is, embrace it and be consistent. 
  • APPEAL to emotions and needs - Your audience wants to feel like the time they spend with you is worth it. Make them laugh, solve a problem (or get them heading in the right direction anyway), hell, make 'em cry if that's your thing. Either way, you are connecting with them and THAT is what's important.

Rule of 5:3:2

A very successful formula of what content to post is the 5:3:2 rule. When it comes to social sharing, the 5:3:2 rule is a ratio to follow for a well-rounded social strategy that will keep your fans engaged - and help you build more followers.The formula breaks down like this:
  • 50% Curated content
  • 30% Original content
  • 20% Fun content
So for example, if you publish 10 posts per week then:
  • 5: Should be content from others that is relevant to your audience.
  • 3: Should be content from you that is relevant to your audience but not sales focused.
  • 2: Should be personal, fun content that helps humanize your brand.

From the Experts

Post Planner Editor in Chief, Diana Adams explains it like this:

"Today, it’s all about user intent, the value of your content and writing for the reader. And not just any reader. Writing for the reader you want, the one you’ve outlined in detail.

For the best results, think about what kind of content would be most valuable to your audience. In other words, what is their intent? Why did they come to your blog? What kind of info are they hoping to see from you?

The best way to answer these questions is to really know your audience (your customers and potential customers). What are the struggles they face? What problems do they need solved?

Once you can figure out how to answer these questions better than anyone else in your niche, your traffic and subscribers will go up up up (and fast)!!"

Next Step

So now you know who your audience is, where they are in the Social Media world, and what to say to them. Next item on the To-Do List is to craft your message and get it ready to be heard. I'll show you how and give you some really useful tools next Monday in Part 3.

I would like to give a special "shout-out" to a few individuals who have truly impacted my approach to Social Media and have inspired me by sharing their ideas and thoughts to the rest of us:
  • Randy Hlavac - Marketing instructor at Northwestern Medill IMC Business 
  • Andy Crestodina -Web Strategist and co-founder of Orbit Media
  • Rebekah Radice - Award Winning Social Media Writer, Strategist, Author, Speaker. 
Images courtesy of  Pixabay

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