Social media has flipped the marketing industry on its head.
While brands traditionally paid large media outlets huge sums of money to get their message out via broadcast and print media, the Internet era has levelled the playing field in many ways. Today, the content that travels the furthest is just as often the content that’s most worthy of being shared.
As a result, the bar to entry for small businesses has never been lower. Just because Internet popularity doesn’t cost money, however, doesn’t mean that it comes free. Creating great content and building an online community requires a strong plan, a well-executed follow through and constant attention.
So here are 10 tips to get content and social media marketing right for your small business.
1. Know your goals
Before launching a content marketing campaign, it’s important to know why you’re doing it in the first place. Is it brand awareness? Is it an attempt to reach a new demographic? Are you trying to add followers or customers?
Knowing these goals at the outset will help dictate the type of content you produce, how you produce it and where you place it.
2. Track the right metrics
Once you’ve identified the goal of your campaign, it’s important to understand which metrics you’ll be using to track your progress.
Such metrics could range from page views to newsletter signups to sales conversions. Whatever the metric is, set realistic goals and be sure to track your progress on an ongoing basis.
3. Choose media types carefully
There is a wide range of media types that SMBs can utilize for their content marketing campaigns. The most popular in today’s marketing world is video, though it can also be the most expensive to produce.
Depending on your budget and target audience consider whether video, blog posts, newsletters, social media interactions or other forms of content would be best for achieving your content marketing goals.
4. Build a voice
As SMBs begin to think about their content strategy, it’s important to consider the voice they want to present. This will depend on their brand identity, target market and content marketing goals.
For example, while some businesses may want to have an authoritative tone, others might better connect with their target market using a light-hearted approach.
Defining the content marketing voice will help dictate the content that’s produced, and keep content consistent across platforms and media types.
5. Choose the platform carefully
There are a variety of platforms one can use to share content, depending on the audience, content type and the metrics being tracked.
For example, written content can be posted to Medium, LinkedIn or sent in an email newsletter. Videos can be played in a wide range of platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, embedded in blog posts and pinned to the top of social profiles. While images can be posted virtually anywhere, and are must-haves for posts on Facebook, Twitter Pinterest and Instagram.
Knowing the difference between these platforms — and who is using them — is critical. For example, Snapchat is the preferred social network of Gen Z, while Gen X and Boomers prefer using Facebook, according to research conducted by Sprout Social.
6. Adapt content for each platform
While it may be tempting to take a video from YouTube and post it to Facebook, or repurposing an image from Instagram onto Twitter, not all platforms are built the same, and not all are used the same.
For example, a vast majority of videos that appear in Facebook timelines play in mute, making it important to include subtitles. Furthermore, video hosting platforms like Vimeo and YouTube are great for posting longer videos, but when it comes to social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, shorter is always better.
7. Interact with your followers
Unlike a television, radio or newspaper ad, content marketing is a two-way street. Not only should small businesses strive to get their message out, but they should also be receptive to feedback and interactions from followers.
Showing gratitude, answering questions and responding to criticism can go a long way in increasing engagement and brand loyalty.
This is also where your brand voice becomes critical, as responses should be consistent with the tone and style of your content.
8. Be edgy (just not too edgy)
There’s a lot of noise in content marketing today, and playing it safe isn’t always the best way to get noticed. Being a little edgy and bold can help organizations stand out, as long as they do so with caution.
Producing content that pushes the envelope can help increase social interactions and viral appeal — just make sure it’s not for the wrong reasons. After all, there may be no such thing as bad press in traditional media, but no company wants to feel the wrath of an angry Internet community.
9. Produce content regularly
While small business owners are extremely busy, it’s important to make time for content marketing in order to keep your online presence consistent and relevant.
If you suddenly stop posting to your blog or developing newsletters, people will be quick to unfollow. While you don’t need to post every day, having a consistent schedule can help maintain your audience’s attention.
10. Seek help when needed
If you want to get into the content marketing world but really don’t have time, consider outsourcing it.