Feed social networks with purposeful content

It’s a common theme at training sessions; “I’m here to learn to do social media so I can get some instant new sales on my website”.

If only it were that simple.

Yes, these far reaching and ‘sharing friendly’ communication channels certainly do provide you with the opportunity to amplify your message into new audiences. However, do keep in mind that channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, Facebook and YouTube are also very noisy. Over 400 million tweets are shared on Twitter every day. So, somehow, you need to cut through the noise. And that’s not altogether simple.

In many ways, you have to work harder at ‘earning attention’ on the social media platforms – it’s not as simple as taking your traditional marketing messages and sharing them into these conversational networks. Those ‘special offer’ flyers may work well at point of sale in a face to face setting, but look awkward and potentially ‘spammy’, on a social network.

Just as you would in the offline world of promotion or business development, before you set out on the social networks you have to think about the following:

  • What it is you are looking to achieve from your activity
  • Who you are looking to target and where do I find them
  • What’s important to that audience and how can you give them what they are looking for – what’s going to be useful, purposeful, educational or entertaining for them*
  • What’s going to help me to ‘earn’ their attention

These questions to clients I work with, or delegates I train – are always the same. And this thinking and insight leads into the next big question…

…‘What are you going to share?’

After all – on social networks, you are what you share, tweet, post etc. And if you are using the social networks in order to generate new business or leads, or to grow a community to build brand awareness – then in this very busy, information overload, content rich world we live in, where pretty much anything can be accessed anywhere from our fingertips, on the move via our smartphones, then what you share in order to ‘earn attention’ is absolutely critical.

It’s no coincidence that social media is often referred to as ‘earned media’. As you are ‘earning’ attention by the nature of what it is you share and do on the platforms.

If you are constantly sharing other people’s material – then you are potentially being useful and purposeful to others – but to who’s gain? It is a good idea to mix up what it is you share via the channels, sharing content from others is great – but you also want to showcase your own products, services – and create compelling content around your own services, solutions or products – so that you are earning purposeful attention from social networking too.

Often a good thing to do is to create a blog which lives on your website. A blog gives you a platform by which to share, your content. The fact that the blog lives on your site – means that when you push your content out into the social platforms – and it gets passed around, regardless of where it ends up, when the user opens the link to explore the bigger article, it’s your site they come back to.

All Businesses / Brands are Publishers

The blog enables you to become your own publishing house. Via it you can share relevant and purposeful articles in many media (video, images etc) which focus on or around your products – but in a more ‘entertaining’ way. So rather than just providing content around your traditional marketing messages - discount offers, free events etc, you instead engage with people in a more purposeful way.

Of course, the content you create is yours. It’s unique, authentic content which you can share on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook - which can then provide traction back to your website – and hopefully, that new website traffic, (depending on what you do with it) over time, can lead to new sales and awareness.

Michelle Carvill, Founder of Carvill Creative and Author of The Business of Being Social – A Practical Guide to Harnessing the Power of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube for All Businesses.