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Social Media for Content Marketing

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When working in content marketing, creating an awesome piece of work is only half the battle – once it’s made, you then need to get it out there online. The easiest way to disseminate your content is via social media, but it’s not as simple as putting it out there on Facebook and/or Twitter and hoping for the best. There’s a fine art to gaining traction for your work; below are some of our top tips on how to make your campaign a success by using social media for content marketing, and avoid it getting lost in the aether.

Share your content at the best times of day

A simple place to start your content marketing social media strategy (one so simple that it may not have even crossed your mind) is to think about the time of day that you’re posting, and consider it in relation to your intended audience. Unfortunately, this isn’t a ‘one time fits all’ situation, and there isn’t really one ‘best’ time to post, though a little bit of common sense goes a long way. Everything from afternoon slumps to users checking their phones before heading to bed will have an effect on their social interaction levels and, in turn, the success of your content marketing strategy.

When it comes to Twitter, the platform is most active during working hours Mon-Fri, and demonstrates markedly less interaction at the weekend. According to research by sumall.com, peak usage hits between 1pm and 3pm, which should tell you that tweeting your awesome blog post on a Friday at 5pm is probably not the best idea if you want anybody to actually see or engage with it. In direct contrast, Mark Schaefer’s study shows that interactions on Facebook skyrocket at the exact opposite times: outside of working hours at evenings and weekends, with a peak usage on Sunday afternoons. So, choose your platform and timings wisely!

Play with language to see what works best with your audience

The rise of social media has seen a change in language and how we use it. This goes much further than the obvious ‘text speak’, but extends to a newly established set of socially recognised ‘rules’. For example, full stops that were once seen as simply the end of a sentence now arguably connote an angry tone, and the use of ellipses has developed from signifying a missing word or unfinished thought into a tool to help keep conversation light and open, inviting the user to respond.

What does this mean for your social channels? You probably already have tone guidelines for your brand, but these need to be adapted for the casual world of social media. Think about your audience and the language they use – business entrepreneurs on LinkedIn may not respond quite as well to multiple exclamation marks and emoticons as the more casual users of Facebook, for example. In fact, it’s probably best to steer clear of emoticons full stop when representing a brand, but there’s no harm in keeping things less formal on social channels.

Make sure your messages are optimised for each social network

Each social media channel has its own strengths and weaknesses, so remember to optimise your messages accordingly. Twitter doesn’t give much room for your marketing spiel, but it allows for more responsive and real time communications, and you can still share quite a lot within 140 characters, including links and pictures.

However, Twitter is also a very fleeting medium – if your followers aren’t looking at their feed at the right time, they’ll miss it. In contrast, the more ‘static’ nature of Facebook means that you can develop interactions over a longer time, share more information in one go, and as the ‘Likes’ and comments remain visible to all users throughout, the platform lends itself more to the idea of fostering a community, and offers more quantifiable results.

Don’t be afraid to repurpose quality content

Make the sky the limit when it comes to your content; there’s no need to stick to one medium. If you post a written article that skyrockets in popularity and brings in a lot of likes, shares and retweets across Facebook and Twitter, consider repurposing the idea in a different form to be picked up by new audiences.

This could be as simple as reformatting your written article into a visual piece that is more suitable for the likes of Pinterest or Tumblr or even turning your concept into a video that’s shareable across YouTube and Vine. This allows you to reach out to a new audience with an idea that has already proven popular on other social channels.

Don’t get hung up on numbers

When it comes to successful content, it isn’t always a numbers game – you’ll never win with that as your focus. Sure, you can’t disregard user numbers as a success factor completely, but think about your outreach strategy in terms of quality over quantity.

In other words, it’s better to have 1,000 people actively engaging and interacting with your content and, crucially, feeling incentivised to share and talk about it with their own audience, than 50,000 people who will thoughtlessly share your content before never revisiting or thinking about it again.  This leads us nicely onto our next point…

Spend time connecting and building relationships with the big players

If you’re going to work on the quality over quantity principle, you’ll need to ensure that those who are sharing your content are the right ones; the online influencers in your chosen area. Spend some time researching the big players in your niche, the ones with wide reaching audiences who share similar interests and passions to you and your client.

Once you establish who these people are, throw caution to the wind and reach out to them. Try to build a relationship based on mutual benefit, showing them that you’re a useful and interesting connection for them to have. This in turn makes them far more likely to share your content with their own followers, with a genuine interest behind it.

Share more than once!

Hard as it may be to believe, your followers aren’t monitoring your social media profiles 24/7, and no matter how well-timed the initial post is, it’s going to pass some people by. So, don’t be afraid to give your new content a cheeky bump periodically to keep it in the public eye, and to get it in front of a new crop of users each time (though obviously don’t overdo it – there’s a fine line between a gentle reminder and spamming people).

Also, stick around once you’ve posted, and interact with your audience. Acknowledging feedback quickly is a good way to foster relations among your online community, and will give your new campaign the start it deserves. Join conversations, get a feel for what your followers want and want to talk about. Of course, not every comment is going to be glowing praise, which brings us on to our next point…

Embrace and react positively to negative feedback

So, occasionally your awesome piece of content marketing will garner reactions you weren’t really hoping for on social media. Perhaps it’s been appropriated by users and had its meaning spun into something else, or maybe someone’s using your new marketing initiative as a reason to straight-up troll you.

Frustrating as this may be, instances such as this actually provide a great opportunity to win further PR points. If the user’s grievance is genuine, acknowledge, empathise and look for a solution; if it’s intended to be ironic, try and see the funny side and maybe even run with the joke for a little while – you’ll win a lot more fans that way. Also, try to remember that social media is the domain of neck-bearded keyboard warriors whose sole justification for making inflammatory remarks online is “because internet, herp derp”. So, you know, don’t take them too seriously…

As mentioned up top, there’s no hard and fast rule that can be applied when posting new content via social media, but if you at least consider the above guidelines before you hit ‘post’, you shouldn’t go far wrong.