8 vital social media ingredients to boost your content marketing
“Help me, help you.” A classic line from Jerry Maguire, and a concept that we’re going to look at today. Content Marketing and Social Media can be the perfect recipe for lead generation; blog posts, infographics, e-books, podcasts and videos can all get major traction on social media if shared wisely.
78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing, and this year marketing teams are looking to spend $135 Billion on digital collateral marketing. With good reason too, 60% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after consuming content from it. But all that belief and funding isn’t worth a pile of beans if nobody is reading, hearing, or seeing it. Aimlessly firing posts off into the social dining hall might work, but they’ll probably end up being fed to the dog. To get the most delicious results from your content sharing, here are 8 ingredients to have in your cupboard:
Know how to post flexibly across social networks
Social media is already pretty precise at getting directly to who you want, resulting in highly effective leads if marketed to correctly. This is partly why U.S. inbound marketers save an average of 13% in overall cost per lead when compared to the less fine-tuned outbound approach. A way to make this even more precise is to understand what people want when they are using a particular social network, think about the atmosphere and how people are using it. How does your content marketing work within that space?
Posting the exact same promotion message across multiple channels is one of my pet peeves. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and others are different communities, so if a business doesn't want to appear as a "spray and pray" marketer, they should consider personalizing their content promotion messages for each social network.
Following on from this, it's good to know what content works best with which platform. Not just in terms of how it will look or how to pitch it, but understanding what topics work well with the community on a particular social network. One example of this would be that content about politics gets 20% more sharing activity than average on Twitter, whereas on Pinterest it gets 94% less. If you’re limited in some way as to how much content you can share on each channel or how much time you can devote to social media, then knowing which platform has the keenest audience for your topic can greatly improve the effectiveness of your content marketing.
Use an image
A recent study found that Tweets with an image in received 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites, and 150% more retweets that tweets without. Twitter’s recent changes make it ripe for visually engaging posts to do well. Furthermore, in 2012, 93% of brand posts that went viral on Facebook were images. If the description included a link to a related blog post, or the image was an amazing (delicately) branded infographic, then your content could surf a giant wave on the back of your social channels.
Let’s use this tweet by Homestead Honey as an example. It wants us to read their article on the safety of microwaves, which ties into their brand by encouraging a more natural approach to your diet. By including a somewhat shocking picture they’re making a compelling argument for their case, as a result we’re wondering what else there is discover, could it affect us, will there be more pictures? That’s when we click. Job done. You could include something that raises all of those questions into 140 characters, but why make things harder?
Link 25% of the way through tweets
The flowery prose, relevant picture, and calls to action are all important parts of sharing your content, but ultimately you need clicks on links. Positioning your links efficiently in your tweets is one of the most simple ways you can improve your CTR and get more people to your content. Dan Zarrella analysed over 200,000 tweets and found that the ones with links 25% of the way through had the highest CTR.
So instead of tweeting this:
“Just read that there’s more mobile phones than toilets in India. Odd at first, but makes sense when you think about it [Link]”
You want something more like this:
“Here’s an excellent post: [Link] Apparently there’s more mobile phones than toilets in India. Well, today I learned!”
Track and learn
With good link analyzing tools you can get highly insightful information on how well your links are doing when you post them on your social platforms. Using one of these links can tell you what sites people were clicking on it from, which specific post they were clicking on, and you can even find out which were converting into sales. Also, if you plug your Bitly account into SocialBro you can see who was clicking your links on Twitter, giving you further insight into the kind of people who have been checking out your content.
Use this to learn which of your posts are giving the biggest boost to your shared content, or just use the data to make pretty charts and graphs.
Preview with stats, quotes, and takeaways
Curiosity killed the cat, but it brings your content to life. People want content to add value to their precious time on the planet. Will they learn something useful? Will they be entertained? Will they be motivated? These questions all whizz through peoples’ minds when they see your content posted up, if they think ‘yes’ then you’re doing your job.
To help them along, why not give them a little taste of what they can expect? Let’s say there’s one succinct nugget of white-hot truth in your blog post. Well, quotes can get 53% more Retweets than average posts so why not quote it? Following on from this, numbers (such as an interesting statistic) can get 32% more retweets. A small chunk of an amazing infographic could spark intrigue as well. To see how effective it is, here’s a recent tweet by Bill Gates that was a link to a blog about a book about concrete and resources. It’s a pretty specialist area, you wouldn’t expect much engagement if you just slapped a link up. But by demonstrating one of the key findings we understand the worth of the knowledge contained within the piece and BOOM over 13,000 retweets.
A smart, professional looking post makes a much better first impression than a garbled or bland mass of text. Who would’ve thought!? Twitter estimates that it should take less than 15 minutes to implement the code on your site to create Twitter cards when shared. These cards are customisable to include images, embedded media, download links and descriptions. In other words, a bunch of things that make people more likely to click on your content.
Meanwhile, a Wordpress plugin such as Yoast makes it easy to give your posts a specific meta description that appears when people share your content. If you want to check how your posts are optimized for various social media sites then KnowEm has a free tool to check that you have all of the pieces of your coding jigsaw in place. It’s easy to use and shows roughly how your content will look when shared:
Use your social media to inform your content
How do you choose what to write about? More specifically, how do you choose stuff you know your community cares about? Sometimes you can go out on a limb and you’ll strike it lucky, but there’s nothing more frustrating than pouring your heart into an amazing bit of content that gets no interest. It’s a real buzzkill. Remove the guesswork by analysing your community and finding out what buttons to hit. What are they talking about? Who are they following? What are they worried about? Where are they? All of this data should be informing what content marketing you’re putting out. A marketing platform such as SocialBro can provide you with these analytics for your community, your competitors, and your industry as a whole.
Share it again, Sam
Not right away, and don’t be annoying, but good evergreen content will usually still be good content a few weeks from now. Keep it fresh though, is there a current news story or event that your content could be tied into? Is your brand one that could get away with a cheeky #TBT to an older piece? Change up the wording in your post to keep it different too, so if you shared it with just the title last time, share it with an excerpt or statistic from the piece this time.
What tools, tricks, and habits do you have to make sure your social media is working as hard as it can to help your content marketing?