Do you consider your social media marketing to be a separate facet to your other endeavours such as content strategy? All of your different marketing ventures will always have several aspects in common — this makes them cohesive parts of a whole, and this entails that you coordinate one effort alongside another effectively and efficiently.
In the case of social media, one oft neglected facet is social content. You cannot hope to succeed in social media marketing without knowing how best to approach your social content strategy.
Re-purposing from a Base Article
A typical approach to crafting social content is repurposing a base article to suit the different social networking sites where social content needs to be posted. Repurposing is a different ball game from simply rewriting, and spinning articles serves little to no purpose if you want to churn out quality content. Sound content strategy actually includes creating the base article that blog posts, social content, press releases, and other forms of content will come from — if you or your content partners need to cut corners, however, you can use general website content or a good blog post as a base article.
Crafting the Perfect Social Content for Its Medium
From this base article that you will most probably have live somewhere (either within your website or its associated blog), you then need to create different forms of content to suit the social networks you want to market to — and these are not limited to simply textual content. To point you in the right direction, let’s see how this plays out in five of the most profitable social networks today:
- Facebook: Facebook is a complete social platform, which means the content approaches you can use on it may vary, and it is indeed recommended that you do. Do not stick to one form of content for too long in a bid to create as much social buzz as possible through variation — going from updates with links to images to videos and back again.
- Google+: An inherent, unwritten guideline when trying to engage your Google+ audience is that you need to share very informative, entertaining, or enriching content — something worth sharing to your Streams, and not just simple updates and links. This is because the majority of Google+’s growing active user base does not use the platform the way they do Facebook or Twitter, where they update their social contacts about every little thing they do. Only around 20% of sharing in Google+ Streams is personal in nature; the rest are content that are in and of themselves worth sharing, which means you either need to put in more effort to craft something for Google+ or make sure that the link you are posting is worth a comment or two.
- Pinterest: Images are the focal point of Pinterest’s Pins, so make sure you have a good image to go with a short description based on your original article. If it’s feasible, a brief infographic will work wonders. Otherwise, make sure your Pins create easy association with your brand, and that they are quite memorable. Pinterest is among the most effective social networks to drive referral traffic, so you want your Pins to lead to landing, promotions, or product pages, or have links within your descriptions.
- Twitter: Twitter is a micro-blog, and each 140-character Tweet is a micro-blog post. Forget the title, a cool introduction or hook, and even a memorable conclusion — you need to encapsulate the essence of your base article into one or two full sentences. Lessen your target character count by 19, as shortened URLs in Twitter account for 19 characters of the tweet. These links are best used at the beginning or near the end of the tweet. Lastly, you need to infuse some manner or feel of call to action into your tweet.
- SlideShare: SlideShare was doing well on its own, but when it partnered up with LinkedIn, it simply became a more powerful and more proliferate means of online PR and social media marketing. Obviously, you need to put in a bit more effort into creating a slide show than, say, creating a tweet (or even the base article), so if you think there isn’t enough detail in your article to merit a slide show, do not go for it. If there is enough material for a slide show, make it professional, aesthetic, and replete with calls to actions and relevant links.
Tying Everything Together into the Buying Cycle
The bottom-line is that effective social content is purposefully crafted to suit its medium, and in turn, the content can draw in more readership, generate more engagement, and refer more leads or even generate sales. Before your medium-specific social content can do that, however, you need to make sure your social content strategy ties in well with your buying cycle.
The calls to actions and links you place in your social content all point towards one marketing tool or other — but what is the ideal way of going about this linking and calling to action? Ideally, calls to action should lead straight to point of sale webpages or at least landing pages, but then again you can lead referred traffic to your blog post or base article for more info. The key here is figuring out when to send people where.
If your target social graph are mostly unqualified leads (not ready for purchase), then leading them straight to a hard sell marketing tool would be a waste. You need to lure them deeper into your sales funnel first, so perhaps additional information and engagement is in order before any hard selling. Conversely, if the target market of your social content are your fans or other qualified traffic (more likely to purchase), then you need to make sure you push them — however gently — into a sale, a subscription, or a form submission.
Social content is a cross between social media marketing and content strategy — separate aspects of your marketing campaigns that have a common denominator. Make sure you have effective social content and both your content strategy and social media marketing will be impacted positively.