Increasing your engagement on social media by creating a content marketing strategy, especially if you’re a small business, isn’t rocket science.
Now, there are marketing agencies out there who will tell you that it is, and they may be right when and if you expand your customer base to more than one country across millions of people, or diversify your product line, or make an IPO.
Mostly, though, if you aren’t there yet, content marketing is really just good common sense and an intrinsic understanding of your product and your target audience. It’s essential for your business, because content has become what consumers tend to access and engage with more often than traditional advertising.
Content marketing is cheaper than traditional PR, generates a lot of sales through inbound marketing, and is pretty cost effective according to a piece by Kathryn Hawkins in the Huffington Post.
So, about that content marketing strategy to help increase your engagement on social media?
Let’s walk through it step by step.
Figure out what kind of content you want to share
Depending on what your company does, you’ll need to narrow down the type of content you want to share with your audience. Every piece of content that you use has to fit in with your brand guidelines and your brand image, and cannot deviate from it.
Unsure of what content is out there?
Take a look at the social media pages for brands you think are well known, or use content discovery tools like DrumUp, Feedly, or Pocket to find sharable content.
Once you know what type of content fits with your brand, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll get this content.
Find or create good content
Content management tools like the ones mentioned in Top 9 Content Discovery & Curation Tools to Manage Social Media not only help you browse the content multiverse to get a feel for things, but also help you find relevant, original content.
The key to any successful content marketing strategy is to have a mix of original, shared, and curated content. The latter two types of content are what apps like DrumUp or Pocket help you find, while the original content is something you’ll have to create.
Hiring someone to create original content at this juncture is a good idea — a freelance writer or content developer can help you produce sharable content that has a high ROI.
Even better, see if you can’t get an influencer — someone with a lot of readers or followers — to write you a guest post or contribute regularly to your blog. You’re sure to get a lot of eyes on your content this way.
Figure out who your audience is
Though this is number three on the list, you should really be doing this while searching for, and creating, content.
Your audience will help you determine, in tandem with your brand, the tone your content should take.
Are you targeting young women in their twenties who like to do crafts? A tonne of how-to or DIY articles might be a great idea for your blog and social media pages.
The more well-defined your audience is, the better your content marketing strategy will be, because you’ll be able to create and share content that appeals to these people specifically.
Research and create a content schedule that works for you
So, now you have content ready to go, what you need to do is get it online.
The important thing in content marketing is timing. The best time for posting cat videos? Usually during lunch because that’s when people take breaks.
Think about your audience and research when they’re most likely to be online.
For your content marketing to be successful, you need to get on their schedule and post when they’re likely to be checking in on their phones, laptops, or tablets. This could mean 2 a.m. or 5 p.m. depending on your audience.
Try and automate your schedule as much as possible. Use apps that help you queue up your content and post them at specific times. This way, you can get all your content marketing work done at your speed and still reach people at optimal times.
Use data every step of the way
All social media platforms offer analytics that let you know how well your posts are doing. This is a tool that you need to learn how to use.
Not only can data and analytics let you know how your content strategy is working out, they can actually help you tweak your strategy to make it more effective. Use data when you’re trying to understand your audience and their habits, use it to post, and use it to analyze your content strategy to see how you can improve it.
With the advent of digital and content marketing, the number of people you reach is no longer an unknowable number. It is quantifiable, and you can calculate exactly how effective your content marketing strategy is, or isn’t. You need data to stay relevant. Plus, it helps you improve almost in real-time.
These five steps outlined above can help you create a content marketing strategy that best suits your business. They are immediate, actionable pieces of advice — so get on them now. Seriously. With the way content marketing is going today, you really don’t have much time to waste.
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