Martyn Hannah, director of content marketing agency, ghostfoundry, on how entrepreneurs can produce top-notch social media content that takes brand engagement to the next level
It’s no secret, for start-ups and entrepreneurs, social media is the most powerful and cost-effective marketing platform at their disposal. It has the scale and scope to reach and engage a global audience, introducing consumers and clients to their business, products and services, and at very little expense.
While most entrepreneurs understand the power of social media, many fail to unlock its full potential. This is because most are left scratching their heads when it comes to the types of content they should be publishing, and how that content differs from Facebook to Twitter, from Instagram to LinkedIn, and even on their own blog.
This, in turn, is preventing start-ups and entrepreneurs from generating the unrivalled levels of exposure and interaction that each social media platform has to offer. With this in mind, it is worth briefly looking at the key social media platforms, and the types of content that are best suited to each.
It sends more website referral traffic than any other social network. It is geared towards both news and entertainment, and recently there has been a rise in popularity of video content. It is not necessarily the place for publishing unique in-depth long-form content, but it can be used to link back to such pieces on your blog or website.
Twitter considers itself a news channel as much as it does a social media platform. In fact, it is listed on the Apple App Store as a news application. It is ideal for entrepreneurs looking to share blog posts or articles from their website. In addition, retweeting and conversation are encouraged among users, creating a huge opportunity to grow your business through chatter and word of mouth.
A picture says a thousand words, and Instagram is all about stunning imagery in the form of static pictures and short videos. It is perfect for strong visual brands, but less so for entrepreneurs and start-ups looking to share long-form content with their target audience. It can be used by B2B businesses, but is a more natural fit for B2C.
The professional social network; as such, content should be created with this in mind. It is a platform for industry news, analysis and discussion; content should be informed, intelligent and deliver plenty of value. Long-form content works well, and LinkedIn Pulse – its own content publishing and distribution platform – allows users to publish full length articles, as well as shorter posts.
Of course, knowing the types of content to produce for each social media platform is just half of the equation. Regardless of whether creating a short Facebook post linking back to your blog, or a longer analysis piece for LinkedIn, or a Tweet that will spark conversation, content has to pack a punch and be of top quality.
It must offer significant value to the target audience, and this often means giving something away for nothing. You should not think of content as a short-term marketing tool. It should be used to foster affinity with your brand, which, in the long-run, will morph into incredible loyalty and drive conversions.
A personal trainer, for example, may produce daily workout videos that are uploaded to YouTube to be accessed for free. Over time, viewers will start to become familiar with their brand, and a high percentage of them will go on to convert into paying customers. It takes time, of course, so it’s important to be patient.
Content must also be of high quality. If you are writing an article for your blog or website, it should be well structured and written, make informed and interesting points, and provide the reader with information they can’t get anywhere else. If you are an online estate agent, for example, you could produce in-depth location guides.
This can cover things like average house prices, top eating and drinking spots, information of local school, transport infrastructure, etc.
Again, these guides may not make the reader buy a house through your agency straight away – they may not even be looking yet, just doing research on a particular city – but when they are, they will likely come back to you. This is particularly true if you can produce content that keeps them returning to your site in the interim.
Other things to consider are authenticity – your content should be unique and original – and tone of voice. This is one way of injecting life and soul into your brand, but keep in mind your target audience – if you run a funeral business, stay away from “banter”. Also take into account the social media platform on which you will publish.
Creating blockbuster content for social media is no easy task, but by know what types of content are suited to each platform, and how to leverage authenticity, voice and audience, it is possible to produce content that taps into the psyche of your target audience. Content that creates incredible brand engagement and loyalty, and at very little cost.