Developing a Social Content Marketing Strategy

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A social content marketing strategy is your plan for posting compelling content on social media channels that will:

  1. Grab the attention of your target audience. It consists of the tactics you’ll use to decide what to post on your social media channels, when to post it, and
  2. Generate contextually relevant backlinks to your website.

One of the main reasons why people use social media is to be educated and informed, and to connect with knowledgeable people in their niche or industry who can help solve their problems. A content marketing strategy provides an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise to potential customers.

This is why a social content marketing strategy is one of the most powerful and effective tools you can use to market your business on social media.

The right type of content will organically attract targeted followers that you can ultimately convert into customers and generate backlinks to your website. However, the content you share with your auience must be selfless, high quality content that contributes real value to the lives of your target audience.

If the content you are posting is self-serving and only about promoting your business, product or service, potential customers will see no obvious reason to follow or engage with your brand because your actions clearly demonstrate that you are mainly concerned with making money rather than helping anyone.

There is nothing more off-putting and likely to lose you followers than continually posting about your business, products or services. Implementing the wrong content marketing strategy on social platforms will cost you potential customers.

A commonly accepted practice in social media is to use the 70/20/10 rule:

Approximately 70% of your content should be completely focused on the needs, problems and challenges of your target audience: This can include industry news and trends, fresh, late breaking news, current world events, how-to tips, videos, tutorials, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to helpful resources.

Ultimately, in the world of social selling good content is not only that which your prospect wants to consume, but it’s also something that she or he is then willing to engage with and share with their network.

This can include your own blog posts, as long as you are not simply trying to sell. In order to post helpful information, you may find it necessary to curate relevant and high quality content from reliable sources such as industry professionals, thought leaders and experts in your field, whitepapers and governing bodies to keep consistent streams of information flowing in the correct channels. This is typically “OPC” (other people’s content).

Approximately 20 percent of the content that you share should be company information. Posts about company information are posts that do not have anything to do with selling a product or service. It is information about the company in general. The aim of this type of content is to humanize your brand and help people get to know more about the company you work for.

People will always choose to do business with brands they know, like and trust, and posting engaging content about your company that helps people relate to you will make you a more likeable brand. So, use your social channels to convey insights and information about your company that your customers cannot find elsewhere.

Examples are news about an upgrade in software or about a new trading partner in Africa or new legislation that has benefited the company and other businesses in your industry. However, it is important that you share too much information about your business. 

Less than 10 percent of the content you share should be promotional. If you are willing to focus 90 percent of your content on others, then, no one will mind when 1/10th of it promotes your products and services. As long as you are providing value to your followers, it is absolutely fine to use social platforms to post promotional links.

Social media is an excellent lead generation tool, and the ROI from the platforms for businesses that use it well is fantastic. So, from time to time, post offers and special deals to your followers. Give away samples of your product or e-books about your services. If your product is expensive, offer a discount to the first ten followers that send you a direct message.

If you have a blog, post links to all your posts (which should themselves have a call-to-action featured in them). Promote contests or tell people to sign up for an event that is coming up. You can also post about a time-limited sales event with a link to details about it, and promote online and offline events such as podcasts, webinars and local events.

Following are important elements which you need to incorporate into your content strategy.

  • You need to know and understand your target audience so that you can publish valuable content that consistently communicates your brand promise, and is useful and relevant to their needs.
  • The content you produce needs to stimulate engagement, demonstrate knowledge and thought leadership and be consistent with the mission and culture of your business.
  • The majority of the content you post will needs to be focused on the needs and aspirations of your target audience, not yours. Once you are absolutely clear about who your target audience is, what makes them tick, and what their problems, challenges and interests are, you can determine what subjects and topics they will be interested in.
  • You need to speak the language of your target market in order to effectively engage with them.
  • You need to know when your audience is most engaged, and time your content delivery around those times.
  • You need to measure the results of your conversations to see which ones are most effective and focus on creating what is popular with your audience.
  • You need to understand what your followers are interested in by looking at your click stream data and creating more content around those topics.
  • You need to achieve a balance between informative and fun posts like images, videos, etc.

Fundamentals of Your Content Strategy

In order to develop an effective social media content strategy it’s important to clearly define what type of content you will be developing. The type of content you publish through your social media channels will greatly depend on how much you know your audience, and what they will find useful, relevant, entertaining or engaging.

Is your audience looking for educational content such as tutorials or tips and how-tos? Are they hungry for information or entertainment? Do they want to stay tuned and know all the latest news and trends of the industry? Once you know what type of content your target audience are hungry for and willing to share with their connections, then you can define this crucial element of your content strategy.

The content that you share on through your social media channels needs to have a focus in terms of the topics you plan to cover and the tone it will take.

Following are some pointers for determining that focus.

  • Relevant. Social consumers are inundated daily with all types of content. As a result, they are filtering out content that is not relevant to them. Whether you’re posting on one of your blogs, Facebook Page or Twitter profile, it is essential that you’re only posting content that is relevant to your target audience.
  • Stimulate engagement. The foundation of the content you share should be educational, informative, entertaining, inspirational, or promotional. It could also contain elements of all five. Depending on the specific medium you are using, the content could be delivered in the form of blog posts, screencasts, podcasts, images, quizzes, questions, infographics, videos, status images and tweets.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and thought leadership. One way to garner trust among your target audience is by sharing content that establishes you as a thought leader, authority or expert in your niche. Its all about becoming a valuable source of information. Build a reputation for yourself that demonstrates your expertise. When you can dig up relevant, valuable and useful content your target audience is interested in, you will become widely respected and your content will be widely shared.
  • Consistent with the existing brand tone and culture of your business. Some companies make the mistake of being overly informal in an attempt to fit the “perceived” culture of social media. Don’t fall into this trap. All of your posts,messages and activities must clearly and consistently communicate your brand image, brand values and brand promise in order to avoid confusing your customers. A social media channel such as Facebook is a personal venue, so a more personal tone is key, but your Page still represents your brand. You don’t want to post content that is out of step with your brand’s character, image, and personality. If this is a wide departure from the normal tone of your content, it would come across as not authentic, and that woud define your brand. For example, if you are perceived as a fun & energetic brand, your tone of voice will probably be chatty, lively and informal. This could translate into messages that are short, upbeat and optimistic.
  • Make your followers feel better. It is important to always bear in mind that your followers are mostly on social to be social. If your posts ruin their social experience, they will come to associate your brand with a bad experience and that will cost you fans and potential customers.
  • Differentiate you from your competition. Engaging content can set you apart from your competition and provide the leverage to keep your business top of mind with your customers and prospective customers.

Content Promotion Checklist

Unless you’re a big and established blog, you will need to promote your content. If you’ve created a high quality article, here’s a content promotion checklist that you can follow to promote it in order to generate traffic and build backlinks to your website:

  1. Send a newsletter to your email list.
  2. Post to social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn), and consider running an ad campaign on these networks to increase any momentum you’ve managed to build.
  3. Submit to relevant groups on Facebook and Linkedin.
  4. If you’ve mentioned any influencers in the article, reach out to them on Twitter.
  5. Submit the article to relevant subreddits on Reddit.
  6. Searh for relevant forums and online communities, and publish the article there.
  7. Promote the article on relevant Slack channels and communities and link back to your website.
  8. Repurpose your article into different formats such as slides, presentations and videos and post to relevant sites with links back to your article.
  9. Repurpose the article as an infographic, and to relevant directories.
  10. Once the article is indexed, syndicate it on relevant websites and high quality article directories with a link back to your website.
  11. Start an outreach campaign to websites that have linked to similar articles.
  12. Reach out to everyone who has published articles mentioning that topic.
  13. Publish guest articles that link back to that article.

When to Post

You need to know when your audience is most engaged and time your content delivery around those times. Social media posts are always displayed in chronological order in your feed. This means the best time to post is when most of your followers are online.

How to implement a comprehensive social media marketing strategy.

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