Social media and content marketing is one of the most crowded spaces on the internet right now. Everyone and their nephew has hung out a shingle claiming to be a Facebook expert or now a Blab expert, so it is harder than ever to be heard above the chatter and all the blabbing!
Is your industry crowded? When potential customers look for your services or products are you sandwiched in between hundreds, if not thousands of competitors? When we the last time you did a Google search for your industry topic? Every business believes they are unique. They believe they are the BEST. Some claim it on their marketing materials and even in their store windows.
When everyone says they are the best, the consumer searching thinks everyone is lying. Instead of saying we're the best, let’s start showing it. Your content marketing strategy is about showing your community that you are helpful and trustworthy. You are going to be proving you are the best by creating so much “social proof” through your content that others will start talking about how great you are.
This week we are looking at what makes our content, and thus our brand, unique. If there are 87,000 people who are talking about the same things, what will be your content tilt? How will the information you share be seen as different?
Is there something about you or your brand that is truly different? Let’s look at a couple examples.
Technorati claims there are over 17,000 food blogs and there are millions of entries so how can you stand out if you are a foodie trying to capture the attention of your audience? Well, Hannah Hart took her passion and figured it out when she created My Drunk Kitchen show on YouTube! With over 2 MILLION subscribers, she has figured out her uniqueness!
Perhaps your expertise gives you the twist you need to zoom in and dominate a crowded space. Could you serve a very specific niche that could open the door to content that would spread faster and wider? Joan Rogliano is a real estate broker who happens to be a “divorce specialists.” This is a niche that she can really make a difference in with her content and how she markets her business. Joan has special resources and workshops for people going through a divorce and of course can help them buy or sell their property. I would love to see her putting out videos and social media content that really spreads this easy-to-dominate niche!
Another realtor standing out with unique content is Jessica Edwards of The Carolina's Finest Real Estate group. She dominates in the video content arena with over 400 videos on her YouTube channel (most of them with her talking to her dashboard-mounted camera). Her topic is not what is unique, her content delivery method is what sets her on top! And, she is charming and consistent!
Regardless of your industry, you must discover what makes you and your content unique. What can you share through your content marketing that makes you one-of-a-kind? If you are still trying to serve everyone, realize that it is a very crowded space.
We struggle with this ourselves here at SocialKNX. We have several health and fitness buffs on our team and serve a large number of fitness, therapeutic massage and hormonal wellness brands and could write specifically for content marketing in these industries, but we have a large number of other businesses we serve, like professional speakers and authors, hotels, software companies, realtors, corporate training companies and even a fun educational science toy and media company. What we do that is different is managing the entire process. We don't just post social media content, we don't coach people on how they can do it. We don't just blog or do newsletter management and email marketing campaigns. We do it all for you.
But our marketing content is not unique enough to separate us from the thousands of marketing companies out there. We need to find that twist, that angle, that unique approach to our content that makes us stand out. Like Jessica Edwards, we do quite a bit of video, but I will admit, I haven't been as consistent as I'd like. I love answering the questions we get each week from our customers and from strangers via social media, and video is a quick and easy way to do it. I also know that we need to create a more unique approach, not so mamby-pamby, middle of the road, same-old-same-old, kind of content. Our content marketing strategy was developed to serve the small to mid-sized company that is trying to do it all themselves. We provide resources and tips to manage the chaos, until that company is looking for a partner to outsource their social and content marketing to.
So it's YOUR TURN to spend time reflecting on how you can stand out in this content-saturated area of your industry. What can you do this week to start putting a more unique spin or twist on your content that is part of your marketing strategy? Next week we will take this information and craft our content marketing mission statement to help us stay focused each day. Until then, I'd love to hear your challenges, thoughts or questions on our 5-week journey together. Leave me a comment below and have a great and focused week!
Gina Schreck is the president at SocialKNX, and is always exploring new ways to help people connect with their target audience! Connect with her on Twitter or any other social media platform you are on @GinaSchreck
The first words out of Karen's mouth, when I answered the phone were, “I just can't do it all anymore.” I felt as if I were manning the phones at a crisis hotline. Karen owns and helps run a natural foods company. they make and sell packaged granola, nuts, and other snack foods that are sold in airports and Whole Foods stores. She actually gets into work at 4am to start baking and is there until 10pm doing other business-related activities, including her social media marketing. She was going NUTS! (Pun totally intended)
Are you getting tired of juggling too many activities to keep your business growing? Are sales declining because you don't have time to follow up with hot leads and your marketing has been shelved because your creative brain cells have all been baked and fried? It might be time to bring in some help, and it might be easier than you think. Perhaps you can find a friend or intern to help with a few of the activities, or perhaps you want to outsource the entire kit and kaboodle (Here's what that phrase even means: Kit and Kaboodle).
Let's take a look at some of the specific skills that are involved in content marketing and social media management. This should help you identify the helper you need.
Great website copy is critical to help your site come up in search results. Your site is more than a boring brochure these days. It should be a resource of information and answers to your potential cusotmers most searched for questions. You need to find someone who can, obviously write well–good grammar and spelling–but finding someone who can sound like you is also very important. While your voice or tone for your website can be taught or assigned, you will want to think of things like words you tend to use and phrases that define who you are as a brand. Are you fun and witty? The copy on your website should show that. Are you conservative and professional, then the writing will need to follow that tone.
Ask for some writing samples. Check other pieces of content from your writer that matches or is close to your style. Keep in mind, you can have someone do the heavy lifting on your website copy and then you can “tweak” as needed.
Keep in mind a copywriter is typically not an SEO expert. If you are wanting this person to also go in and load the content and add meta descriptions, links, and tags, you will want to make sure this person understands how to do that. Don't assume a writer knows anything about the backend of a website.
Blogging is becoming more important as content becomes a greater driver of traffic to your site. Gone are the days of just having your site stuffed with keywords that people might search for. Blogs are different from website copy, in that they usually involve research and more specific industry topics rather than information about you and your brand. A blog post is not a promotional piece, it is more informational and educational. Finding someone who can blog for you, or even to augment your occasional blogging, is a great area to outsource. Just like hiring a website copywriter, you will need to have some input, but with guidance they should be able to write interesting and helpful content for a blog post.
You can even schedule a short interview with the blogger once a month and that can be transcribed and turned into blog content, or you can simply allow the person to get to know about your business, your competitors and your industry. With a little research and a little “letting go,” you can have a blog that is filled with wonderful and helpful content, rich keyword phrases and it will be great content to be shared on social media sites and recycled in your email marketing campaigns. Like website copywriting, if you want your blog posts loaded to your site with tags, photos and meta descriptions, be sure to ask about these skills when looking to hire.
When you are busy managing your business, you might not have the time to watch what is going on in the big world wide web. While there are tools like Google Alerts and Mentions that send you notifications when your brand or specific keywords are mentioned on the web, your brand may be larger and require a more diligent and watchful eye. You may need someone who can help with monitoring your brand and keeping on top of responding to comments and questions that come in on all of the social networks like Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and more. If you are posting content, you want to make sure you are also listening and replying to those you are working hard to connect with. Hiring someone that has great customer service skills is critical. With platforms like Twitter, many disgruntled customers take their complaints to the tweets! Social media’s real-time attributes have resulted in demanding response time expectations — a 2012 study found that 32 percent of customers expect a response within 30 minutes.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
Most people think having someone manage their Facebook page or Twitter account is as easy as throwing a few pictures or status updates up. They bring in their nephew or a friend's daughter who has a Facebook and Instagram account, thinking that is more than qualified. I use a lot of electric gadgets and flip light switches all day, but that does not make me an electrician! Knowing how to load a photo on Facebook is NOT social media management.
The skills you will want to make sure your person possess include, great writing skills, since grammar and spelling are still important in today's business environment. If someone is posting, “How R U doing?” even on Twitter, that should make your skin crawl. You also need someone who understands how to target your messaging and images to attract your ideal customers and stay true to your brand. Images are key to every social media channel today, so knowing how to edit photos to fit the different platforms is a needed skill. Understanding copyright laws as they apply to images and taking someone's intellectual property, are also important in this oversharing world we live in.
There are tools available to make social media management more …manageable, like Sprout Social, Buffer, and Hootsuite. These allow you to plan your content ahead of time and schedule posts to drop throughout the week. This will free up some time and allow you to focus on the community involvement on social.
INTERNET or EMAIL MARKETING
Businesses need to combine social, blogging and email marketing to create a well-rounded digital marketing strategy, but this takes a lot of time for sure. Driving traffic from social media to your website, to landing pages, to email signups to eNewsletters, a person could go crazy trying to do it all. You can outsource it all or just pieces. If you are looking for someone to help you with email marketing, you will want them to know how to work in your email tool–Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, Hubspot,Infusionsoft, just to name a few. If you haven't even set up an email management service, tools like Mailchimp make it very easy with their templates and very low pricing packages.
If you can find someone who has done sales copy in the past, this is a plus. You want to create email campaigns that have strong call-to-actions and copy that converts. This is not your average blogger!
If your goal on social media is to build a community where you can engage with current and potential customers, you will need to spend time being SOCIAL. This means doing more than posting content about you and your brand. It requires you to go onto other people's profiles and other company's pages to read, LIKE and comment there to be engaged in the community. It requires someone spending time looking for others to connect with to ensure your community is growing every day.
Community managers also need customer service skills, since they are representing your brand answering questions both on and off your own pages and profiles. Community management can take the most time since the person has to use search tools to find the right places to visit online, and be sure that those who come to your pages feel as if you are listening to them and valuing their comments and questions.
So you can see, there are many pieces to your content marketing and social media management puzzle. The key is knowing which pieces you can take on yourself, and which pieces you can hire out for. Where is your time best spent? The possibilities are endless. Ask lots of questions when hiring someone. Look for those skills that you either do not have, or do not have time for.
Gina is the president at SocialKNX (and she has her team manage some of the pieces that involve numbers and anything requiring an attention to detail). Gina speaks around the globe on today's marketing strategies to keep business relevant and thriving.
Having a social media presence is more and more important today for a business. The number of consumers who seek information about a company via social media continues to increase and it is almost expected that someone will be there waiting on Twitter or Facebook to answer a question. I believe this stems from the frustration many people feel searching a company's website trying to find a way to contact someone or find information. On social media, the consumer is back in control. They know how to find things on your pages and profiles and they are already on these social platforms, so it's just easier. So if your company is going to invest the time setting up shop on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or any of the other places your consumers are swarming, make sure you don't make these mistakes on social media and miss out on big connections and big business opportunities.
10 Mistakes To Avoid on Social Media
Poor Profile Picture or None At All
A profile picture is like signage on a building. You need to hang a sign out so people recognize you among the masses. There are a lot of posts that come flying by on social media, be sure your profile pic is clear, bold, and STOPS TRAFFIC! If you need to resize a photo or logo, hop over to PicMonkey and use their easy resize tool. Of all the mistakes companies make on social media, this is the easiest to fix.
Leaving Vital Information Blank
One of your goals on social media is to be FOUND. Each social media site gives you a spot to load up a description about you or your business. Adding a couple keywords here is important for people to find you. There is always a spot for you to add your website link and some social sites allow several links—use them up. Cross pollinate. Link from Twitter to your website. From Facebook to your website, blog and perhaps your Twitter account. From LinkedIn, add links to your website, your blog, a page on your website that shows more testimonials or clients you work with. Whatever you do, fill it out completely. Take the time to craft your bios and areas that hold key information. It will help your business be more FINDABLE!
Create Accounts & Don’t Monitor Comments
This is a BIG no-no! Imagine attending a networking event and someone approaches you to ask a question about your services or to say they enjoyed the information you shared last week, and you just stood there without acknowledging them or answering their question. You just turn and walk away. That is what it feels like when someone takes the time to answer a question you post or ask a question on your blog or social media site and never hears back from you. You should close the loop on all conversations that take place on your social media sites.
Not Using Great Visuals
One of the hottest trends in social, is visual social. Take a look at a couple of interesting facts that reinforce this fact. Facebook bought Instagram. Twitter allows photos to be loaded directly into the stream and displays them large and in charge. LinkedIn owns SlideShare and encourages people to add visual presentations into their text-heavy profiles and pages. Pinterest and Instagram rule the social scene right now and of course we consume more and more video every day on YouTube (100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every MINUTE! That’s 16.4 years every DAY! You need to get your expertise uploaded. ) TWEET THIS
Your social media accounts should be a visual wonderland, filled with beautiful images, illustrations, videos, infographics and more. Do not use corny, old and stale clipart. Take that smartphone out and start capturing the story of your business in photos. (see also-SHOW ME A STORY on Slideshare) If you are looking for a new smartphone and want one with a phenomenal camera, check out the Nokia Lumina Icon that Verizon carries. With a 20 megapixel camera, it takes INCREDIBLE photos.
Not Being Social
Social media is a platform for your to share what is going on in your business as well as helpful tips and information about your products, services and expertise, but it’s also a place to BE SOCIAL! After crafting the content that is all about YOU, take some time to wander around the platform and see what others are talking about. If you are connected to the right audience (your target market) you should be interested in what they are saying. Spend time liking, commenting, and sharing the content that others post. Show interest in others if you want them to show interest in you.
Sending Out Auto-Response Messages
Don’t even get me started on this one. Sending automated messages to people in a private or direct message to “WELCOME” them or to “THANK THEM” for connecting with you is a kin to sending a spam message. Everyone knows it is automated and that you probably haven't even seen their profile yet or connected back. My favorite is when people also add a link for a free “gift.” The link is to one of their eBooks or other promotional item that is on a landing page so they can capture your email as well. Why not let people get to know you first. Better yet, why don't you get to know them. Auto messages, whether sent on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, smell of spam and they don't make anyone feel welcomed. Either send a real message to the person telling them you are happy to be connected and that you look forward to learning more about them, or send nothing at all. No impression is better than a negative impression right off the bat!
Not Being Consistent
Many businesses jump into social marketing with great energy, creating their Facebook page, setting up a Twitter account and loading a few photos on Instagram. They may have someone in the office that seems to always have spare time and so they assign the task of social marketing to him. After a few weeks of sporadic posts, there are big lapses in time between posts and before long it becomes abandoned. The biggest challenge with inconsistent posts on Facebook is the algorithm is set up to reward the pages that not only post regularly, but that get regular engagement on those posts. The less frequent you post, the less opportunity a person has to like or comment on something and therefore your content is bumped by other, more frequent content. On Twitter , Pinterest, Instagram or Google Plus, the more you are “seen” on these social media sites, the more your community grows. One tweet a day will not grow a community of followers. Set specific time aside each day for social marketing activities.
Writing Boring Content
Social content is different from the copy you might find on that old brochure in your supply closet from 1995. It is also different from the copy on your website. Too many social media profiles are filled with text-heavy content that no one wants to take the time to read. Keep in mind, when you send an email that is more than a paragraph and it doesn’t include bullets or pictures, people are probably getting the same glazed-eyed look and “accidentally” hitting the delete key. Think of who your target market is….specifically. Are they men? Women? Teens? What do they like? What other pages and social media profiles are they active on? Go check them out. How is that content written?
Social content is more conversational. It is definitely shorter than typical website copy, and it’s usually more FUN! Even if you don’t consider your business to be fun, think of your social media pages and profiles as a little networking cocktail party. You’ve invited potential clients to come. Don’t stand at a podium and start droning on and on about your services. Walk around and have short conversations. Ask questions and be LIVELY! On your social media sites, also think about sharing complimentary content that can add value to the lives of your guests. If you are a hotel, you can share the concert schedule or the best places around your property to get out and hike while visiting. If you own a furniture or accessory business, you can share tips on cleaning lamp shades or paint colors that brighten a mood in the home. If you get to know your audience, you will know what other information they might find interesting and helpful.
Asking Rhetorical Questions or Questions Requiring Big Commitment
I find it amusing when I see a page that has a question like, “Is your business in financial ruin? Tell us how that happened.” First, I would have to admit publicly that my business was a wreck. Second, the writer of this crazy post is making an assumption that I was looking for a therapist. No one is going to take the time to answer that post. Questions that are complex or that require an essay to answer will usually sit with zero engagement as well. Strive for questions that require a simple YES or NO answer. Of course some will opt to write a novel and that is wonderful, but don't require that kind of time commitment. Another type of post that does very well is the A or B post. Load two photos or describe two scenarios and ask which they'd prefer.
Not measuring progress or results
Like any sales or marketing activity in your business, you have to know what is working, what needs tweaking and what needs to be thrown in the trash. Use a social dashboard tool like Hootsuite or SproutSocial to measure click through rates, the types of posts that got the best traction with your audience and even which social media platforms are sending the most traffic to your website. If your community numbers aren't growing that is telling you something as well. Your content might need to change to become more interesting to people finding you, or you are not spending enough time being social to draw the right people to your sites. If your target market includes people in California, but you seem to be getting lots of connections in Brazil, you need look at being more targeted geographically with your posts and people you connect with. Either that or check to see what language you're posting in.
What other mistakes do you see organizations make on social media? What questions have popped into your mind after reading through these? We'd love to hear from you in the comment section below….and we'll get back to you with a response too! 🙂