Social media is a tool that has been just about talked to death. Everyone is using it, everyone knows it is a great venue for content sharing, and everyone is probably sick of hearing about it. Yet, surprisingly few people are properly utilizing it.
Instead of making the most of the opportunity to reach new audiences, content creators are using it as a dumping ground. They post links, badly thought-out visuals, and spam their followers with pleas to check out their latest video.
It’s time to take things to the next level.
Your social media pages are not just a platform for auto-sharing your blog posts. When you promote content, you should be doing it smartly. That starts not with the social strategy, but with the content itself.
Ask Yourself: How Will People Find My Content?
This is perhaps the most important question you can ask, and you should ask it before you even get started on the content. Where do you intend people to find your posts? How can you better reach those audiences?
As a rule, we can isolate six different sources for social engagement:
- Facebook – Main engagement with direct brand-to-use interaction
- Twitter – Influencer engagement
- Instagram – Branding
- Pinterest – Content sharing
- YouTube – Video marketing through authority building
- Podcasts – Community outreach
There are many more social media platforms you can use and expand your reach to, but these six are major ones as a rule. If you properly target your content marketing to these six, the rest will be easy to cover as well. For example,
- Google Plus is a good mix of Facebook and Pinterest (It’s good for customer interaction and it works great for visual marketing).
- Slideshare is a good mix of Pinterest and Youtube (You can build presentations by curating your own images and you can use Slideshare for certain types of videos too (Videos from conferences are perfect for Slideshare for example).
- Linkedin is a good place to connect to companies (Think of it as Twitter but for B2B market), etc.
By having a clear understanding of how you are going to utilize each platform, you’ll also find it much easier to come up with your own ROI. Traffic is a bad metric for social media marketing. Instead, look at:
- Engagement (Facebook)
- Mentions (Twitter)
- Comments (Instagram)
- Clicks (Pinterest)
- Video engagement (How many people watch your videos to the end!)
- Subscribers and leads (podcasts)
Featured tool: Cyfe is a good way to keep an eye on all those metrics at the same time without investing tons of time into monitoring the growth. It supports lots of social media metrics and you can monitor multiple different accounts and pages from one dashboard:
Think In Terms Of Reach
How can you best ensure that your content is reaching the audience you want? If you have a blog post that is targeted towards a certain demographic, you want to go where that demographic is. Pew Research did a survey this year that showed the different groups that are prominent on different platforms.
Some interesting statistics you may want to keep in mind:
- Facebook is the largest social network; their user base is 71% of adult Internet users, and 58% of entire adult population. This is fairly evenly distributed among genders and ages, with the highest user base being women between 18 and 29.
- Twitter is heavily used by both men and women between the ages of 18 and 49, with very little gap between demographics in that age and gender range. Perhaps due to its reliance on influencers in professional industries, the highest numbers of users are in the $50,000 – $75,000 per year annual salary bracket.
- Instagram has a wide gap in users, with most being in the 18 – 29 range, and most being women.
- Pinterest has always been dominated by women, of all ages (But its male audience is growing too!).
This information can help you come up with a realistic strategy when creating content, based around certain platforms.
The 5-Second Test
Here is a super simple test that can give you a peek into your audience interest in your content: does it catch the eye in five seconds or less? Headlines are incredibly important in online content, because they are all you have to hook your readers right away.
Email newsletters, blog posts, and even social media posts need to make an impression in those 5 seconds, or the person will just keep skimming. Just think of all the content they have to choose from, all the stimulation and distractions. Without a catchy headline, you don’t stand a chance.
Improving Your Content for Greater Visibility
Your Content Sucks! Here Is What to Do About It
…which is better? The second is sure to get more attention than the first.
Featured tool: Try FiveSecondTest to see what people immediately associate your landing page with. It’s a great way to generate immediate user feedback:
No, not recycling for the environment (though you should be doing that, too). I am talking about reusing your old content to create more. It is a fantastic way to not only give you more traction from a single piece, but to attract audiences on other platforms by offering the same content in a different way.
That blog post?
- Break it up into a minimalist slideshow (Slideshare is a great additional platform to increase your reach!)
- Create a step-by-step visual tutorial explaining the process (Instructographics work great for Pinterest)
- Break instructographics into pages and let your readers to opt in to download a beautiful PDF guide (Add an option to order a print version of your guide: Turn into an upsell! Gone are the days when printing out was expensive. Printing is cheap and easy these days!)
- Record a video showing it in practice.
- Sum up all the stats and data and pack it into an infographic.
- Curate your own content using list.ly or bunkrapp.com
- Ask experts to provide quotes and create a follow-up article as an expert interview
…Should I go on?
FirstSiteGuide has created this nice guide showing you more content types you can create:
You should never let a piece of content remain singular. A good rule of thumb is to resolve to make five new items from every one you create. If that is your goal, you will never be short dynamic content for multiple platforms, and your social strategy will be sound.
The more content you provide – the more opportunities will come your way. Just make it a rule to think: “How long can I make that chain?”
Don’t Skimp On Words, but Don’t Overdo It
Arguments about the “perfect” amount of words have been around as long as blogs have. The truth is that there is no formula that will ensure success. But there is a range that appears to do better by a large margin.
Most surveys show that blog posts that are within 500 and 1000 words perform the best, especially when it is on the longer end of that spectrum. Next is the 1,500 – 2,500 range, but that is getting into dangerous territory. You will have to really sell the content to keep people reading that long.
For videos on sites like YouTube, shorter videos that reach the average length of 4½ minutes seem to do the best. Though anything from 30 seconds to 10 minutes seem to perform relatively well. Longer videos are better off on more creatively focused sites, like Vimeo.
Podcasts are hard to gauge, because it depends largely on content and topic. But certainly some of the most popular podcasts are those who routinely clock in over 30 minutes, and at the longest point around an hour.
This has to do with the listener’s, probably. How many people listen to podcasts when they are working out, or cleaning, or shopping? Consider that when recording, as no one like to have to constantly stop what they are doing to switch to new files.
All it takes is a little creativity to really give your content and social strategy a boost.
Have any tips? Leave a comment below!
About the Author: Ann Smarty is the Brand and Community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.comas well as the co-founder of ViralContentBuzz.com. Ann has been in Internet Marketing for 7 years, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Ann is also the frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of regular Twitter chats #vcbuzz and #myblogu.