As hard as it is to believe in this age of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, social media actually hasn’t been around all that long. Facebook only showed up in 2004, and Twitter is barely over a decade old. Even the blogging platforms that dominate so many of our websites only started around the beginning of the new millennium, with blogger.com launching in 1999 and WordPress arriving on the scene in May of 2003. And yet today WordPress alone powers nearly 28% of all the websites in the world. So, what does all this mean for your business? It means that what worked ten or five or, honestly, even one year ago may not work today, and you’ll need a dynamic and vital content marketing strategy that includes social media if you want to stay ahead of the game!
But just including social media may not be enough. Many of us can remember a time when websites just dumped a bunch of keywords-often with text the same color as the background of the site so that readers wouldn’t even see them-at the bottom of a page. The days when that worked-if it ever did-are long behind us now, as search engines constantly update their algorithms to prioritize vibrant, dynamic content that utilizes keywords in an organic way and provides value to the reader. In the same way, while it may have once been enough to have a social media presence that was sporadically updated or used primarily as a way for customers to contact you, these days your social media accounts need to be woven into your overall content marketing strategy, and vice versa.
No matter what kind of content you’re adding to your site-from blogs to infographics, white papers to new pages-content can always benefit from new readers, and especially from different readers. And there are few better ways to draw in different readers who may not otherwise have seen your content than through social media. But resist the urge to think of your social media as an advertising venue for your other content, or the other way around. It’s a two-way street, with your site content creating added value for your current readers and those you’re trying to lure, and your social media presence creating added value for your site content.
Regardless of how good your site’s SEO is, the fact remains that a search engine still requires a potential customer to already be looking for something in order to find your site. Social media is unique, because people simply browse it with no particular goal in mind, like a fisherman just tossing in a line on a sunny afternoon. That means your social media message can reach people who aren’t already looking for your product, or something like it. You know when you go to the ballpark and they sometimes use those T-shirt cannons to fire logo-wear up into the highest bleachers? The T-shirt is your message; social media is the cannon.
Part of making that cannon work is helping your message to spread. No business ever made their tweet or Facebook post go viral with promotions or marketing campaigns; they did it because their message resonated with people who wanted to share it. While you may not know the secret of creating a viral message every time, you can make it as easy as possible for people to share what you have to say. One way to do that is to ensure that all of your pages and blog articles have easy-to-find social sharing buttons. A recent study found that prominently-placed social sharing buttons for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn increased social sharing by as much as 700%.
Success on social media is about more than just using it as a loudspeaker to broadcast your message, though. It’s about creating a feedback loop with your customers and your fans-that is, it gives you an opportunity to listen to what they have to say and to respond to what they want. It puts the business and the end-user in touch in a way that’s new and unique, and that gives you opportunities both to reach-and to hear from-the people who use your products and services.
We live in an age that is dominated by social media, so it comes as no surprise that integrating social media is vital to a successful content marketing strategy. Finding a way to do that while also identifying realistic goals, knowing what types of content perform well on which channels, and figuring out how your social media presence fits into your overall brand image is the trick. That’s why it can be helpful to have a team of highly skilled content marketing and social media experts like the ones at iFocus Marketing on your side.