When you start looking around the Internet for advice on how to up your content marketing game, you'll find lots of advice on how to write a great Facebook post, or a compelling tweet, or an amazing and engaging Instagram picture that will get shared and favorited.
This is crucial and important, but there's a lot more to great social media marketing than just making sure your tweet has the right number of hashtags, and your Facebook post interests readers. Let's look.
Social media catches attention, but content is king
There's really no other way to say this. If you expect to get engagement on your posts, gather interest from your audience, and ultimately build your customer base, your content needs to be first rate. From clickable headlines to awesome, shareable pictures, none of it matters if your potential customers click through and find spammy, poorly written content that is boring, has little to do with the subject in question, or has nothing original to offer. Your customers might forgive you once or twice, but ultimately, they'll lose trust in your content, and they'll stop clicking through and sharing.
But my product is boring!
First of all, if you think that the product or service you're offering is boring, you need to find a new angle. Maybe you need to change your focus, or perhaps you can think about what you offer that no one else in your sector does, and make that your exciting angle.
You also need to branch out from the idea that every social media post is designed to bring you sales. The correlation between marketing and sales has always been murky, and in the new age of content marketing, that's doubly true. If you put a sales pitch into every post, you will lose customers; sales are boring. Great content brings new information to the attention of readers who may not have heard it before. Some of the most successful social marketers work by picking up news articles and informative thought pieces from other websites to their readers' attention, and then offering their perspective, or telling the customer how this relates to them.
A note on this, however: the difference between thoughtful commentary and “scraping” the Internet is slim. While you can certainly pick up a paragraph from the article you're linking to, make sure to link through to it, so that the original poster also gets a click through from interested readers. It's considered very bad form to post the entire content of someone else's post on your website, even if you put it in quotes and link back to the other article.
So how do I keep track of my marketing?
There are a number of strategies, from editorial calendars to making high quality to-do lists. You'll know if your focus is too narrow, because you'll quickly run out of things to talk about. If you start to feel like you've talked about all the things there are to talk about, it's time to broaden your focus. Ask your readers what they'd like to hear about, or start looking for news items about your industry to discuss or comment on. Invite someone in for a guest post!
Read industry experts
Both marketing experts, and experts in your industry. To offer interesting, unique content, it's absolutely necessary to know what other people are talking about. When you're on social media, don't just post your content; find other people in your area and interact with them. Build friendships, offer space for guest posts, and generally interact. Remember that while social media can be a vehicle for connections that can lead to sales, you're not there to sell things. You're there to build connections. People who spend time on social media can tell the difference between a salesperson and a genuinely interested social media professional in a heartbeat; don’t give them reason to doubt you.